Radiocarbon dating also referred to as carbon dating or carbon dating is a method for determining the age of an object containing organic material by using the properties of radiocarbon , a radioactive isotope of carbon. The method was developed in the late s at the University of Chicago by Willard Libby , who received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his work in It is based on the fact that radiocarbon 14 C is constantly being created in the atmosphere by the interaction of cosmic rays with atmospheric nitrogen. The resulting 14 C combines with atmospheric oxygen to form radioactive carbon dioxide , which is incorporated into plants by photosynthesis ; animals then acquire 14 C by eating the plants. When the animal or plant dies, it stops exchanging carbon with its environment, and thereafter the amount of 14 C it contains begins to decrease as the 14 C undergoes radioactive decay. Measuring the amount of 14 C in a sample from a dead plant or animal, such as a piece of wood or a fragment of bone, provides information that can be used to calculate when the animal or plant died.
How Carbon-14 Dating Works
Explainer: what is radiocarbon dating and how does it work?
Careful sample preparation by StrataData is matched by the world class analysis by Beta Analytic Inc. Our reports contain official radiocarbon dating certificates for each sample together with calibration curves showing how each conventional radiocarbon age for samples has been calibrated with the calendar year curve. Suitable for dating sediments up to c. Non-marine as well as marine and terrestrial sediments can be dated using this method. Each sample is prepared in the same way as for a micropalaeontological analysis. Suitable specimens are selected by picking through the residue.
Researchers from Istituto Nazionale di Ottica INO , within Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche CNR , Italy have demonstrated a new compact spectroscopic instrument that offers a highly sensitive optical method for detecting radiocarbon dioxide concentration, which can be used to carbon date fossils and archaeological artifacts. The instrument, which uses a new approach called saturated-absorption cavity ring-down SCAR , is described in The Optical Society's journal for high impact research, Optica. SCAR offers significant time and cost savings compared to the standard approach for carbon dating and could be useful for a host of other applications such as measuring emissions from fossil fuels or certifying the amount of biogenic content in biofuels. Current carbon dating processes require researchers to send a sample to a large facility with an accelerator mass spectrometer and then wait several weeks to get results back.
Almost everyone has heard on the news about archaeological findings claiming to have discovered a 12, years old bone, or a tomb with a skeleton of an individual who died 18, years ago. Do you remember when they found the famous tomb of Tutankhamun in Egypt? We have certainly been to a Natural History museum and saw exhibits of dinosaur or mammoth skeletons weather they are real or replicas. We might have seen displays of how our pre-historic ancestors looked like, and every display would indicate in the information box the date they were alive. But have you ever wonder how scientists can tell how old they are?