The book may certainly be regarded as a highly technical compendium, an essential reference work that should be acquired by any library and is mandatory for advanced students, and practitioners.
This is, however, also a significant document--a status report--which synthesizes the latest thinking about important dating methods written by a distinguished assemblage of international experts. Initially, I provide a broad assessment that will establish a background and a context for chronology in archaeology, and I shall present an overall evaluation of the volume.
But when it dies, this ratio will fall, as the carbon-14 decays.
Radioactive carbon decays slowly, such that a given amount of carbon-14 halves every 6,000 years.
Accelerating the ions to high energy has one more advantage.
At the kinetic energies typically used in an AMS system it is possible to use well-established nuclear physics techniques to detect the individual C ions as they arrive at a suitable particle detector.
If wisdom comes with age, then brain cells are some of the wisest in the body: researchers have applied carbon dating to DNA to confirm that cells in the brain live longer than most others.
The precise measurement capabilities at CAMS allow researchers to identify the isotopic composition of a given sample.
At the terminal they pass through either a very thin carbon film or a tube filled with gas at low pressure (the stripper), depending on the particular accelerator.
Collisions with carbon or gas atoms in the stripper remove several electrons from the carbon ions, changing their polarity from negative to positive. The positive ions are then accelerated through the second stage of the accelerator, reaching kinetic energies of the order of 10 to 30 million electron volts. This problem is solved in the tandem accelerator at the stripper –if three or more electrons are removed from the molecular ions the molecules dissociate into their component atoms. The kinetic energy that had accumulated up to now is distributed among the separate atoms, none of which has the same energy as a single C from the more intense "background" caused by the dissociated molecules on the basis of their kinetic energy.
This may be a solid-state detector or a device based on the gridded ionisation chamber.
The latter type of detector can measure both the total energy of the incoming ion, and also the rate at which it slows down as it passes through the gas-filled detector.