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In a stratigraphical context objects closer to the surface are more recent in time relative to items deeper in the ground.
Although relative dating can work well in certain areas, several problems arise.
SCAR offers significant time and cost savings compared to the standard approach for carbon dating and could be useful for a host of other applications such as measuring emissions from fossil fuels or certifying the amount of biogenic content in biofuels.
A new spectroscopic technique offers ultra-sensitive optical detection of radiocarbon dioxide.
When a plant or animal organism dies, however, the exchange of radiocarbon from the atmosphere and the biosphere stops, and the amount of radiocarbon gradually decreases, with a half-life of approximately 5730 years.
“Accelerator mass spectroscopy can be used to carbon date bones, wood, fabrics or anything of biological origin, pinpointing its age of up to 50,000 years ago,” said Iacopo Galli, a member of the research team.
“Using our new technique, we can do something similar but with a lower cost and with a faster delivery time for the results.” The researchers report that their SCAR instrument can detect radiocarbon dioxide concentration with a precision of 0.4 percent, which approaches the 0.2 percent precision of the best accelerator mass spectrometers.
WASHINGTON — Researchers from Istituto Nazionale di Ottica (INO), within Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche (CNR), Italy have demonstrated a new compact spectroscopic instrument that offers a highly sensitive optical method for detecting radiocarbon dioxide concentration, which can be used to carbon date fossils and archaeological artifacts.
The instrument, which uses a new approach called saturated-absorption cavity ring-down (SCAR), is described in The Optical Society's journal for high impact research, .