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Radiocarbon ages are then quoted as "years before present" (BP).The formula used for this calculation is: Radiocarbon age (years BP) = -C in 1950 AD (pre-bomb) material.

When a C atom decays, it emits a beta particle, which can be counted in a gas by the electrical pulse it generates.

In a liquid scintillation counter, the beta particle excites the emission of light from a complex organic molecule or "scintillant." Because only about 13.5 decays per minute occur in one gram of modern carbon, it was necessary to use fairly large samples of several grams of carbon.

The radiocarbon time-scale has now been calibrated with tree rings to more than 10000 years before present, and beyond that using a coral chronology (Stuiver, et al., 1993).

The practical use of accelerator mass spectrometry was shown in 1977 by two groups simultaneously at Mc Masversity and at the universities of Toronto and Rochester (N. The great advantage of using AMS is that we can measure the isotope ratio of C to stable carbon directly.

Radiocarbon dating: radioactive carbon decays to nitrogen with a half-life of 5730 years.

In dead material, the decayed 14C is not replaced and its concentration in the object decreases slowly.A radiocarbon measurement can be obtained on a sample of ~0.5 mg of carbon, and measured to 40 years in uncalibrated radiocarbon age in a measurement time of 30–40 minutes on each sample.About one carbon nucleus in a trillion contains two extra neutrons, giving a mass of 14.However, this inconsistency is corrected during calibration [the reason for using the (Willard F.) Libby half-life of 5568 years instead of the correct one of 5730 years has to do with the finding in about 1962 that the true half-life was 573030 years.This creates an error in the "raw" age of about 2 percent.For practical reasons, which are discussed later, the value of "modern" is defined by reference to two primary standards of known radiocarbon content.