Uses of mass spectrometry in carbon dating

In the second half of the accelerator, the now positively charged ion is accelerated away from the highly positive centre of the electrostatic accelerator which previously attracted the negative ion.

Later, in an attempt to estimate the relative abundances of the various ion species present, Thomson replaced the photographic plate with a metal sheet in which was cut a parabolic slit.

In a second stage of mass spectrometer, the fragments from the molecules are separated from the ions of interest.

This spectrometer may consist of magnetic or electric sectors, and so-called velocity selectors, which utilizes both electric fields and magnetic fields.

Thanks to the high energy of the ions, these detectors can provide additional identification of background isobars by nuclear-charge determination. There are other ways in which AMS is achieved; however, they all work based on improving mass selectivity and specificity by creating high kinetic energies before molecule destruction by stripping, followed by single-ion counting.

An age could be estimated by measuring the amount of carbon-14 present in the sample and comparing this against an internationally used reference standard.

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