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All-Optical Radiocarbon Dating

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Radiocarbon (<sup>14</sup>C), the “natural clock” for dating organic matter, is a very elusive atom. Its concentration is about one part per trillion. For the past 30 years, accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) has been adopted as the standard method for dating organic samples via radiocarbon. AMS requires a smaller carbon mass and shorter measurement times than the old standard method of liquid scintillation counting. However, AMS requires huge, expensive and high-maintenance experimental facilities.

© 2012 Optical Society of America

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