Science for kids radiometric dating carbon 14

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In the ideal case, the material will incorporate a parent nuclide and reject the daughter nuclide.In this case, the only daughter nuclides to be found through examination of a sample must have been created since the sample was formed.This transformation is accomplished by the emission of particles such as electrons (known as beta decay) or alpha particles.While the moment in time at which a particular nucleus decays is random, a collection of atoms of a radioactive nuclide decays exponentially at a rate described by a parameter known as the half-life, usually given in units of years when discussing dating techniques.The mass spectrometer was invented in the 1940s and began to be used in radiometric dating in the 1950s.The mass spectrometer operates by generating a beam of ionized atoms from the sample under test.The ions then travel through a magnetic field, which diverts them into different sampling sensors, known as "Faraday cups", depending on their mass and level of ionization.On impact in the cups, the ions set up a very weak current that can be measured to determine the rate of impacts and the relative concentrations of different atoms in the beams.

Nuclides useful for radiometric dating have half-lives ranging from a few thousand to a few billion years.In most cases, the half-life of a nuclide depends solely on its nuclear properties; it is not affected by temperature, chemical environment, magnetic and electric fields, or any other external factors.The half-life of any nuclide is also believed to be constant through time.In contrast to the most simple radiometric dating techniques, isochron dating, which can be used for many isotopic decay sequences (e.g.rubidium-strontium decay sequence), does not require knowledge of the initial proportions.

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