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Mass spectrometer

Mass spectrometer

H170/0055

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Credit

JAMES KING-HOLMES / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY JAMES KING-HOLMES / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

Mass spectrometer. Researcher working on an accelerator mass spectrometer (AMS) used for carbon dating. All living material incorporates a radioactive isotope of carbon, carbon-14 (14C), and a stable isotope, carbon-12 (12C), into its tissue at a known ratio. When the tissue dies the amount of 12C remains constant, but 14C decays. Measuring the amount of 14C compared to 12C in a sample indicates how long ago the tissue died. The AMS converts atoms from a sample into a beam of ions. It then measures the mass of the ions by the application of electric and magnetic fields. Photographed at Oxford Radiocarbon Accelerator Unit, University of Oxford, UK.

Release details

Model release available. Property release not required.

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