Pictures of radiocarbon dating
Over the years, carbon 14 dating has also found applications in geology, hydrology, geophysics, atmospheric science, oceanography, paleoclimatology and even biomedicine.Radiocarbon, or carbon 14, is an isotope of the element carbon that is unstable and weakly radioactive. Carbon 14 is continually being formed in the upper atmosphere by the effect of cosmic ray neutrons on nitrogen 14 atoms.When they die, they stop exchanging carbon with the biosphere and their carbon 14 content then starts to decrease at a rate determined by the law of radioactive decay.Radiocarbon dating is essentially a method designed to measure residual radioactivity.American physical chemist Willard Libby led a team of scientists in the post World War II era to develop a method that measures radiocarbon activity.
The impact of the radiocarbon dating technique on modern man has made it one of the most significant discoveries of the 20th century.
Liquid scintillation counting is another radiocarbon dating technique that was popular in the 1960s.
In this method, the sample is in liquid form and a scintillator is added.
Over the years, other secondary radiocarbon standards have been made.
Radiocarbon activity of materials in the background is also determined to remove its contribution from results obtained during a sample analysis.