The method was developed by Willard Libby in the late 1940s and soon became a standard tool for archaeologists.
The older a sample is, the less (the period of time after which half of a given sample will have decayed) is about 5,730 years, the oldest dates that can be reliably measured by this process date to around 50,000 years ago, although special preparation methods occasionally permit accurate analysis of older samples.
The idea behind radiocarbon dating is straightforward, but years of work were required to develop the technique to the point where accurate dates could be obtained.
More accurate methods were developed using gas-proportional counters and liquid-scintillation counters.
These C atom decays, it emits a beta-particle, which can be counted in a gas by the electrical pulse it generates.
Libby was awarded the Nobel Prize in chemistry for his work in 1960.
Carbon dioxide in the atmosphere contains a constant amount of carbon-14, and as long as an organism is living, the amount of carbon-14 inside it is the same as the atmosphere.
In a liquid-scintillation counter, the beta-particle excites the emission of light from a complex organic molecule or "scintillant".
Because only about 13.5 decays per minute occur in one gram of modern carbon, it was necessary to use fairy large samples of several grams of carbon. 1977] were published simultaneously in , reporting on a development which added a particle accelerator into a mass spectrometer to produce an accelerator mass spectrometer (AMS).
But what really needs to be considered when exploring a solution?