Carbon dating instruments
Chicago), via NASA of those two isotopes in a sample.Most carbon on Earth exists as the very stable isotope carbon-12, with a very small amount as carbon-13.
Atoms of the same element that have different numbers of neutrons are called isotopes.
Here’s an example using the simplest atom, hydrogen. Cosmic rays bombard Earth’s atmosphere, creating the unstable isotope carbon-14.
The new technique can deliver results in just two hours, with each test costing about half what it would if conducted using an accelerator mass spectrometer.
The researchers estimate the SCAR instrument is about 100 times smaller and 10 times cheaper than the instrumentation required for accelerator mass spectrometry.
The length of time it takes for the light to decay from its initial intensity is used to calculate the concentration of radiocarbon in the gas mixture in the cavity.