JAMES KING-HOLMES / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY JAMES KING-HOLMES / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
The mid- and final sections of the accelerator mass spectrometer (AMS) in the Oxford Radiocarbon Accelerator Unit, for dating samples of organic material. The large tube contains the stripper canal where electrons are removed from the carbon ions to give them a positive charge. This beam, which still contains carbon-12 and carbon-13 isotopes is then separated by magnets and a Wien velocity filter so that only the carbon-14 ions reach the detector to be counted. This count is the basis for calculating the age of the original sample by comparison with the more stable carbon-12 and carbon 13 atoms.
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