Radiocarbon dating is used to date
Carbon-14, or radiocarbon, is a naturally occurring radioactive isotope that forms when cosmic rays in the upper atmosphere strike nitrogen molecules, which then oxidize to become carbon dioxide.
Green plants absorb the carbon dioxide, so the population of carbon-14 molecules is continually replenished until the plant dies.
Love-hungry teenagers and archaeologists agree: dating is hard.
But while the difficulties of single life may be intractable, the challenge of determining the age of prehistoric artifacts and fossils is greatly aided by measuring certain radioactive isotopes.
There are two techniques in measuring radiocarbon in samples—through radiometric dating and by Accelerator Mass Spectrometry (AMS).
When the samples have finally been converted into few milligrams of graphite, they are pressed on to a metal disc.
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.
Though still heavily used, relative dating is now augmented by several modern dating techniques.
Radiocarbon dating involves determining the age of an ancient fossil or specimen by measuring its carbon-14 content.