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17.6: Radiocarbon Dating: Using Radioactivity to Measure the Age of Fossils and Other Artifacts
Poznańskie Laboratorium Radiowęglowe
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 14 C , a radioactive isotope of carbon. The method was developed by Willard Libby in the late s and soon became a standard tool for archaeologists. Libby received the Nobel Prize for his work in The radiocarbon dating method is based on the fact that radiocarbon is constantly being created in the atmosphere by the interaction of cosmic rays with atmospheric nitrogen. The resulting radiocarbon 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 from that point onwards the amount of 14 C it contains begins to decrease as the 14 C undergoes radioactive decay.
The Center for Applied Isotope Studies offers consultation and full radiocarbon dating services for research and commercial clients. We use the latest techniques and technologies. Our state-of-the-art Pretreatment and Graphitization Facility allows us to offer many specialty services, including micro-sampling and compound-specific dating. We are experts in dating extremely small and poorly preserved samples. The Center for Applied Isotope Studies is and always has been a tracer-free facility: we do not accept, handle, graphitize or count samples containing Tracer or Labeled Hot 14 C due to the risk of cross-contamination.
Jump to navigation. For decades, radiocarbon dating has been a way for scientists to get a rough picture of when once-living stuff lived. The method has been revolutionary and remains one of the most commonly used dating methods to study the past. Pearson, an assistant professor of dendrochronology at the University of Arizona, studies the past lives of trees to better understand the history of civilizations. Dendrochronology and radiocarbon dating have intertwined histories, she explains, with roots firmly planted at the UA.