The sample passes through several accelerators in order to remove as many atoms as possible until the C pass into the detector.
These latter atoms are used as part of the calibration process to measure the relative number of isotopes (9).
Stone and metal cannot be dated but pottery may be dated through surviving residue such as food particles or paint that uses organic material (8).
The next big step in the radiocarbon dating method would be Accelerated Mass Spectrometry which was developed in the late 1980s and published its first results in 1994 (3).This was a giant leap forward in that it offered far more accurate dates for a far smaller sample (9); this made destruction of samples a far less delicate issue to researchers, especially on artefacts such as The Shroud of Turin for which accurate dates were now possible without damaging a significant part of the artefact.It also has some applications in geology; its importance in dating organic materials cannot be underestimated enough.In 1979, Desmond Clark said of the method “we would still be foundering in a sea of imprecisions sometime bred of inspired guesswork but more often of imaginative speculation” (3).When an organism dies, it stops absorbing the radioactive isotope and immediately starts decaying (7).
As previously mentioned, the half life of the C isotope is 5,730 years - this means that it takes 5,730 years to reach half the radioactivity that the organism had at the point of death, another 5,730 years to reach 25% radioactivity it had at the point of death and so on.
You probably have seen or read news stories about fascinating ancient artifacts.
At an archaeological dig, a piece of wooden tool is unearthed and the archaeologist finds it to be 5,000 years old.
Radiocarbon dating is simply a measure of the level of C isotopes in the atmosphere can vary.
This is why calibration against objects whose age is known is required (14).
Carbon-14 dating is a way of determining the age of certain archeological artifacts of a biological origin up to about 50,000 years old.