Define ams radiocarbon dating

Accelerating the ions to high energy has one more advantage.

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At the terminal they pass through either a very thin carbon film or a tube filled with gas at low pressure (the stripper), depending on the particular accelerator.

Collisions with carbon or gas atoms in the stripper remove several electrons from the carbon ions, changing their polarity from negative to positive. The positive ions are then accelerated through the second stage of the accelerator, reaching kinetic energies of the order of 10 to 30 million electron volts. This problem is solved in the tandem accelerator at the stripper –if three or more electrons are removed from the molecular ions the molecules dissociate into their component atoms. The kinetic energy that had accumulated up to now is distributed among the separate atoms, none of which has the same energy as a single C from the more intense "background" caused by the dissociated molecules on the basis of their kinetic energy.

Dr Christine Prior is Team Leader of the Rafter Radiocarbon Laboratory at GNS Science.

In this video, she compares conventional and accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) radiocarbon dating.

At PRIME Lab we measure six different cosmogenic radionuclides.

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