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Accelerator mass spectrometers need only as little as 20 milligrams and as high as 500 milligrams for certain samples whereas conventional methods need at least 10 grams in samples like wood and charcoal and as much as 100 grams in bones and sediments.Accelerator mass spectrometers typically need sample sizes lesser than conventional methods by a factor of 1,000. Hence, because of its ability to analyze samples even in minute amounts, accelerator mass spectrometry is the method of choice for archaeologists with small artifacts and those who cannot destroy very expensive or rare materials.Radiometric dating methods detect beta particles from the decay of carbon 14 atoms while accelerator mass spectrometers count the number of carbon 14 atoms present in the sample.

One is the cyclotron, and the other is a tandem electrostatic accelerator.These two radiocarbon dating methods use modern standards such as oxalic acid and other reference materials.Although both radiocarbon dating methods produce high-quality results, they are fundamentally different in principle.There are essentially two parts in the process of radiocarbon dating through accelerator mass spectrometry.The first part involves accelerating the ions to extraordinarily high kinetic energies, and the subsequent step involves mass analysis.

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At this stage, molecules that may be present are eliminated because they cannot exist in this triple charged state.

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