Radiocarbon Dating Using Electrostatic Accelerators: Negative Ions Provide the Key

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Science  04 Nov 1977:
Vol. 198, Issue 4316, pp. 508-510
DOI: 10.1126/science.198.4316.508


Mass spectrometric methods have long been suggested as ways of measuring 14C/12C ratios for carbon dating. One problem has been to distinguish between 14N and 14C. With negative ions and a tandem electrostatic accelerator, the 14N background is virtually absent and fewer than three 14C atoms in 1016 atoms of 12C have been easily measured.