Carbon-14 Dating: A Comparison of Beta and Ion Counting

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Science  24 Nov 1978:
Vol. 202, Issue 4370, pp. 881-883
DOI: 10.1126/science.202.4370.881


Accelerator ion counting compares favorably with conventional beta counting. The major advantage of ion counting is that milligram samples can be analyzed. When sample size is not limiting, ion counting complements beta counting for the more routine carbon-14 determinations. Further development is needed before ion counting can achieve the same high precision as beta counting for large samples (± 2 per mil). A solution to the background variability has to be found before ion counting can be used to date samples back to the 75,000-year limit of beta counting.