Radiocarbon dating before 1950

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In AMS, the filiamentous carbon or "graphite" derived from a sample is compressed into a small cavity in an aluminum "target" which acts as a cathode in the ion source.The surface of the graphite is sputtered with heated, ionized cesium and the ions produced are extracted and accelerated in the AMS system.Our measurements of secondary standards show that the deviation within a population of samples is generally 1-3 permil greater than the reported error for a single sample.Radiocarbon age is calculated from Reporting of ages and/or activities follows the convention outlined by Stuiver and Polach (1977) and Stuiver (1980).The reproducibility of these measurements gives us a good estimate of the true experimental error.

The Fraction Modern corrected for δC of a sample 10 separate times over the course of a run.Such raw ages can be calibrated to give calendar dates.The technique of radiocarbon dating was discovered by Willard Libby and his colleagues in 1949 during his tenure as a professor at the University of Chicago.Thus, ages are limited by the age of the process blanks (more on that below) and by the statistical uncertainty of the C ratios of the blank, the sample and the modern reference, respectively.For small samples, blank contribution as a fraction of sample mass becomes a more important term, so a mass balance blank correction is applied.

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