After pretreatment, samples for radiocarbon dating are prepared for use in an accelerator mass spectrometer by converting them into a solid graphite form. This is done by conversion to carbon dioxide with subsequent graphitization in the presence of a metal catalyst.
How is a mass spectrometer used in absolute dating?
For isotopic dating with a mass spectrometer, a beam of charged atoms, or ions, of a single element from the sample is produced. This beam is passed through a strong magnetic field in a vacuum, where it is separated into a number of beams, each containing atoms of only the same mass.
What instrument is used for carbon dating?
accelerator mass spectrometer Most radiocarbon dating today is done using an accelerator mass spectrometer, an instrument that directly counts the numbers of carbon-14 and carbon-12 in a sample.