JAMES KING-HOLMES / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY JAMES KING-HOLMES / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Radiocarbon dating. View of a linear accelerator, used as part of an accelerator mass spectrometer (AMS). This device is capable of counting the relatively few carbon-14 atoms in a sample being radiocarbon dated. The carbon-12 content may be assessed using conventional mass spectrometry. The proportion of carbon-14 to carbon-12 atoms in the sample may be used to determine the radiocarbon age of an organic object. This is then adjusted by various corrections to give the true age. Photographed at Oxford University.
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