Laboratory staff, from left: Mats Rundgren (lecturer), Raimund Muscheler (professor), Anne Birgitte Nielsen (lecturer), Ingemar Hansson (research engineer), Mattias Olsson (research engineer), Göran Skog (lecturer) and Git Klintvik Ahlberg (technician). Under a microscope, a lab technician cleans a tiny wood chip extracted from an American museum treasure.The Radiocarbon Dating Laboratory in Lund performs dating on geological and archaeological samples.Examples of material that we date are wood, charcoal, peat, macrofossils, bone and marine shells.Katherine Freeman, distinguished professor of geosciences at Penn State, uses it to follow crude oil compounds released from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill that were taken up by microbes living in sediments of the Gulf of Mexico.More traditional uses of carbon dating also benefit from an AMS, because it provides more precise measurements of carbon-14 than other methods, and it can do so with incredibly tiny samples -- as small as 1 milligram.Radiocarbon dating is based on the property that the activity concentration of 14C in dead tissues can be used to calculate the time that has elapsed since death occurred. More details Reporting time At present (March 2017) it takes ca 2-3 months (excluding periods when the laboratory is closed for holidays) from the arrival of a sample until we report the result to the customer.This is possible since all living organisms contain nearly the same proportion of radioactive carbon in their carbon stores and since, upon the death of the organism, the carbon which survives decomposition continuously loses 14C by its radioactive decay. This applies to normal samples, and the time varies depending on the type of material.
Libby received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his work in 1960.An accelerator mass spectrometer measures the amounts of different isotopes within a sample.For carbon dating, the process starts in an ionizing chamber, where the atoms within a sample of pure carbon are given a negative charge.Reporting time for fast handling is maximum 6 weeks but normally 3-4 weeks.All samples submitted for dating must be accompanied by a sample description form.