Radioisotopes as tracers in carbon dating

by  |  04-Oct-2019 10:01

Atoms of carbon-14 undergo a random rearrangement in a process called radioactive decay. The time taken for a given amount of carbon-14 to decay so that only half of it remains is called the half-life. Scientists can use this to calculate the age of very old items of archaeological interest, provided they have a plant or animal origin.

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Rearrangements can occur, leading to the emission of radiation.

Of the 3,000 nuclides (distinct kind of atom) known, only about 300 are stable.

Only a very small amount of americium is used – about 0.2 mg.

It has a half-life of 432 years and is an alpha particle emitter.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony has been held to formally open the Argonne TRACER Center (Trace Radioisotope Analysis Center) at the U. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory.

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