Radiometric dating detector
Mass spectrometers detect atoms of specific elements according to their atomic weights.They, however, do not have the sensitivity to distinguish atomic isobars (atoms of different elements that have the same atomic weight, such as in the case of carbon 14 and nitrogen 14—the most common isotope of nitrogen).Thanks to nuclear physics, mass spectrometers have been fine-tuned to separate a rare isotope from an abundant neighboring mass, and accelerator mass spectrometry was born.A method has finally been developed to detect carbon 14 in a given sample and ignore the more abundant isotopes that swamp the carbon 14 signal.
Although both radiocarbon dating methods produce high-quality results, they are fundamentally different in principle.
There are two accelerator systems commonly used for radiocarbon dating through accelerator mass spectrometry.
One is the cyclotron, and the other is a tandem electrostatic accelerator.
After pretreatment, samples for radiocarbon dating are prepared for use in an accelerator mass spectrometer by converting them into a solid graphite form.
There are essentially two parts in the process of radiocarbon dating through accelerator mass spectrometry.The first part involves accelerating the ions to extraordinarily high kinetic energies, and the subsequent step involves mass analysis.