Radiometric dating error margin

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After pretreatment, samples for radiocarbon dating are prepared for use in an accelerator mass spectrometer by converting them into a solid graphite form.This is done by conversion to carbon dioxide with subsequent graphitization in the presence of a metal catalyst.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.An accelerator mass spectrometer has a run time of a few hours per sample.

The negatively charged carbon atoms, however, move on to the stripper (a gas or a metal foil) where they lose the electrons and emerge as the triple, positively charged carbon atoms.These two radiocarbon dating methods use modern standards such as oxalic acid and other reference materials.Although both radiocarbon dating methods produce high-quality results, they are fundamentally different in principle.An accelerator mass spectrometer, although a powerful tool, is also a costly one.Establishing and maintaining an accelerator mass spectrometer costs millions of dollars.

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