The measurement of radiocarbon by mass spectrometry is very difficult because its concentration is less than one atom in 1,000,000,000,000.The accelerator is used to help remove ions that might be confused with radiocarbon before the final detection.Plants and animals naturally incorporate both the abundant C-12 isotope and the much rarer radiocarbon isotope into their tissues in about the same proportions as the two occur in the atmosphere during their lifetimes.
While not all objects have the same isotopes, both living and nonliving objects have some sort of decaying, radioactive isotope that can be used based on known decay rates. An isotope of some sort is located and isolated within an object.
That isotope is then compared to its decaying product and scientists are able to use known decay rates to determine how old the initial isotope is.
Radiometric dating is a process of identifying the age of a material based on known half-lives of decaying radioactive materials found in both organic and inorganic objects.
Radiometric dating is often used to determine the age of rocks, bones, and ancient artifacts.
The sample is put into the ion source either as graphite or as carbon dioxide.
It is ionised by bombarding it with caesium ions and then focused into fast-moving beam (energy typically 25ke V).C-14 is produced in the upper atmosphere when nitrogen-14 (N-14) is altered through the effects of cosmic radiation bombardment (a proton is displaced by a neutron effectively changing the nitrogen atom into a carbon isotope).The new isotope is called "radiocarbon" because it is radioactive, though it is not dangerous.In fact, radiometric dating can be used to determine the age of the Earth, (5.54 billion years old) other planets, and celestial objects.Radiometric dating is often referred to as “radioactive dating” and “carbon dating,” though many different types of isotopes can be used to identify an object’s age.There are two techniques in measuring radiocarbon in samples—through radiometric dating and by Accelerator Mass Spectrometry (AMS).