# Advantages of radiocarbon dating

Tracer-Free AMS Dating Lab Beta Analytic does not accept pharmaceutical samples with "tracer Carbon-14" or any other material containing artificial Carbon-14 to eliminate the risk of cross-contamination.

Radiocarbon, or Carbon-14, dating is probably one of the most widely used and best known absolute dating methods. Radiocarbon dating relies on a simple natural phenomenon.

NOTE: Sample size required by the lab is a conservative estimate.

Normal pretreatment procedures can remove 30% to 70% of the original material sent.

Here’s an example using the simplest atom, hydrogen. Carbon-14 is an unstable isotope of carbon that will eventually decay at a known rate to become carbon-12.

Radiocarbon dating uses isotopes of the element carbon. Cosmic rays – high-energy particles from beyond the solar system – bombard Earth’s upper atmosphere continually, in the process creating the unstable carbon-14. Because it’s unstable, carbon-14 will eventually decay back to carbon-12 isotopes.

Precision for AMS carbon dating results will be better than radiometric dating (LSC) analysis for samples that are more than 10,000 years old.

Precision of results with Beta Analytic’s AMS dating and Radiometric PLUS service is the same.

Bottom line: Radiocarbon dating is a technique used by scientists to learn the ages of biological specimens from the distant past.

The unstable carbon-14 gradually decays to carbon-12 at a steady rate. Scientists measure the ratio of carbon isotopes to be able to estimate how far back in time a biological sample was active or alive.

This plot shows the level of carbon-14 in the atmosphere as measured in New Zealand (red) and Austria (green), representing the Southern and Northern Hemispheres, respectively.

Aboveground nuclear testing almost doubled the amount of carbon-14 in the atmosphere. The black arrow shows when the Partial Test Ban Treaty was enacted that banned aboveground nuclear tests. A special kind of radiocarbon dating: Bomb radiocarbon dating.

As we mentioned above, the carbon-14 to carbon-12 ratio in the atmosphere remains nearly constant.

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