Negative ions produced on the surface of the sample are extracted from the ion source and sent down the evacuated beam line towards the first magnet.
At this point the beam is about 10 microamps which corresponds to 10 ions per second (mostly the stable isotopes).
The following is a brief description of each element of the AMS system.
The ion source produces a beam of ions (atoms that carry an electrical charge) from a few milligrams of solid material.
Standard c14 dates require amounts of between 1 and 10 grams of charcoal; AMS can use as little as 1-2 milligrams, and under special circumstances to samples as small as 50-100 micrograms.
In standard radiocarbon dating, scientists perform a limited or proportional count of the decaying C14 atoms.
AMS is faster and needs a much smaller sample, but is more expensive.
Also shown are views of bone preparation at the Waikato Radiocarbon Dating Laboratory.Dr Christine Prior is Team Leader of the Rafter Radiocarbon Laboratory at GNS Science.In this video, she compares conventional and accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) radiocarbon dating.Accelerator mass spectrometry is not dependent upon the radioactive decay.What you’re doing is measuring all of the carbon isotopes in the sample – the 12, 13 and 14 – the accelerator operates like a giant mass spectrometer.DR CHRISTINE PRIOR In conventional radiocarbon dating, you’re measuring the presence of the C-14 when you measure the radioactive decay.