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      Developments in Radiocarbon Technologies: From the Libby Counter to Compound-Specific AMS Analyses

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      Radiocarbon
      Cambridge University Press (CUP)

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          Abstract

          We review developments in radiocarbon measuring techniques from the Libby counter through proportional gas counters and liquid scintillation spectrometers to the more recent developments of accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS), followed by a coupling of gas chromatography with AMS for compound-specific 14C analyses. While during the first 60 yr of 14C measurements beta counting, specifically gas counting, was the dominant technique, in the future of 14C science AMS will be the dominant technology.

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          Most cited references31

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          High-Precision Bidecadal Calibration of the Radiocarbon Time Scale, AD 1950–500 BC and 2500–6000 BC

          The radiocarbon ages of dendrochronologically dated wood spanning the AD 1950–6000 BC interval are now available for Seattle (10-yr samples, Stuiver & Becker 1993) and Belfast (20-yr samples, Pearson, Becker & Qua 1993; Pearson & Qua 1993). The results of both laboratories were previously combined to generate a bidecadal calibration curve spanning nearly 4500 years (Stuiver & Pearson 1986; Pearson & Stuiver 1986). We now find that minor corrections must be applied to the published data sets, and therefore, give new bidecadal radiocarbon age information for 2500–6000 BC, as well as corrected radiocarbon age averages for AD 1950–500 BC. Corrected average14C ages for the 500–2500 BC interval are given separately (Pearson & Stuiver 1993). The Seattle corrections (in the 10–3014C-yr range) are discussed in Stuiver and Becker (1993), whereas Pearson and Qua (1993) provide information on Belfast corrections (averaging 16 yr). All dates reported here are conventional radiocarbon dates, as defined in Stuiver and Polach (1977). Belfast14C ages back to 5210 BC were obtained on wood from the Irish oak chronology (Pearsonet al.1986). Wood from the German oak chronology (Becker 1993) was used by Belfast for the 5000–6000 BC interval. For the overlapping interval (5000–5210 BC), Belfast reports weighted Irish wood/German wood14C age averages. The Seattle14C ages for the AD interval were either on Douglas fir wood from the US Pacific Northwest, or Sequoia wood from California (Stuiver 1982). The BC materials measured in Seattle were mostly part of the German oak chronology. Thirteen samples (5680–5810 BC) from the US bristlecone pine chronology (Ferguson & Graybill 1983) were measured in Seattle as well. Here, the final Seattle decadal14C ages resulted from averaging German oak and bristlecone pine ages.
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            The persistence of memory: the fate of ancient sedimentary organic carbon in a modern sedimentary system

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              A shell-derived time history of bomb14C on Georges Bank and its Labrador Sea implications

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                Author and article information

                Journal
                applab
                Radiocarbon
                Radiocarbon
                Cambridge University Press (CUP)
                0033-8222
                1945-5755
                2009
                July 18 2016
                2009
                : 51
                : 01
                : 45-78
                Article
                10.1017/S0033822200033701
                8e4bf9f2-416c-44b3-a541-0853243e8c3b
                © 2009
                History

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