What type of radiation does carbon dating use

10-Oct-2017 13:03

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The energy source for this device was a rod of plutonium-238 weighing approximately 2.5 kilograms and providing a thermal power of approximately 1250W.

Plutonium-238 is a non-fissile isotope of plutonium that decays by alpha particle emission with essentially zero associated gamma emissions.

Some smoke detectors contain a small amount of Americium-241, an alpha emitter (and low energy gamma emitter) with a half life of 460 years.

It consists of an ionisation chamber linked to a simple electronic alarm circuit The Americium ionises the air between the plates, causing a current to flow.

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As the rate of radioactive decay of any particular isotope is known, the age of a specimen can be worked out from the ratio of the remaining isotope and its decay product.

Electrical circuitry is then set up to ensure that a constant rate is maintained.