Radiocarbon dating technique
Animals that go on to eat the plants ingest the carbon-14.
Scientists are then able to work out the age of almost anything organic by comparing the level of carbon-14 to non-radioactive carbon in the sample.
A vial with a sample is passed between two photomultipliers, and it is only when both devices register the flash of light that a count is made.
Liquid scintillation counting is the standard laboratory method to quantify the radioactivity of low energy radioisotopes, mostly beta-emitting and alpha-emitting isotopes.
C dating of samples containing as little as a few milligrams of carbon, which is around 1000 times less than what could be done in previous conventional techniques.
The relative numbers of the atoms of different carbon isotopes in the sample are directly measured and the radiocarbon age is determined.
The light is detected by the photomultiplier tube (PMT) of the liquid scintillation counter.
Source: Perkin A scintillator produces a flash of light when it interacts with a beta particle.
Most carbon consists of the isotopes carbon 12 and carbon 13, which are very stable.
Libby thus reasoned that by measuring carbon 14 levels in the remains of an organism that died long ago, one could estimate the time of its death.
dating method has been used for decades to accurately determine the age of a wide range of artefacts.
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