Radiocarbon dating

related topics
{acid, form, water}
{rate, high, increase}
{math, energy, light}
{day, year, event}
{island, water, area}
{work, book, publish}
{math, number, function}
{style, bgcolor, rowspan}

Radiocarbon dating (sometimes simply known as carbon dating) is a radiometric dating method that uses the naturally occurring radioisotope carbon-14 (14C) to estimate the age of carbonaceous materials up to about 58,000 to 62,000 years.[1] Raw, i.e. uncalibrated, radiocarbon ages are usually reported in radiocarbon years "Before Present" (BP), "Present" being defined as 1950 CE. Such raw ages can be calibrated to give calendar dates. One of the most frequent uses of radiocarbon dating is to estimate the age of organic remains from archaeological sites. When plants fix atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) into organic material during photosynthesis they incorporate a quantity of 14C that approximately matches the level of this isotope in the atmosphere (a small difference occurs because of isotope fractionation, but this is corrected after laboratory analysis). After plants die or they are consumed by other organisms (for example, by humans or other animals) the 14C fraction of this organic material declines at a fixed exponential rate due to the radioactive decay of 14C. Comparing the remaining 14C fraction of a sample to that expected from atmospheric 14C allows the age of the sample to be estimated.

The technique of radiocarbon dating was developed by Willard Libby and his colleagues at the University of Chicago in 1949. Emilio Segrè asserted in his autobiography that Enrico Fermi suggested the concept to Libby in a seminar at Chicago that year. Libby estimated that the steady state radioactivity concentration of exchangeable carbon-14 would be about 14 disintegrations per minute (dpm) per gram. In 1960, he was awarded the Nobel Prize in chemistry for this work. He first demonstrated the accuracy of radiocarbon dating by accurately estimating the age of wood from an ancient Egyptian royal barge for which the age was known from historical documents.[2][3]

Contents

Full article ▸

related documents
Background radiation
Differential scanning calorimetry
Molecule
Ununpentium
SDS-PAGE
Olivine
Formic acid
Hydronium
Ununoctium
Biogas
Ytterbium
Nucleic acid
Fuel
Sulfate
Polychlorinated dibenzodioxins
Boric acid
Aqua regia
Carbohydrate
Polyethylene glycol
Meitnerium
Strontium
Haber process
Histone
Nitrogen fixation
Neptunium
Lutetium
Halogen
RNA splicing
Tellurium
Thiol