Radiocarbon dating sample size

Samples used for radiocarbon dating must be handled carefully to avoid contamination.

We then purify the remaining material to concentrate the collagen and remove as much soil contamination as possible following the procedure given in Brown et al.Wood contains cellulose, lignin, and other compounds; of these, cellulose is the least likely to have exchanged carbon with the sample's environment, so it is common to reduce a wood sample to just the cellulose component before testing.However, this can reduce the volume of the sample down to 20% of the original size, so testing of the whole wood is often performed as well.As a chronology tool, C dating can provide ages for samples as old as 50,000 years. The small sample size capability of AMS radiocarbon dating greatly expands the potential for dating geologic material previously undateable using older proportional counting methods. Sample selection and analysis is carried out in close contact with project scientists.

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