|Credit: Saverio Bartalini, CNR|
The Optical Society. 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, Optica. 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.
Faster, cheaper carbon dating
Current carbon dating processes require researchers to send a sample to a large facility with an accelerator mass spectrometer and then wait several weeks to get results back. Accelerator mass spectrometry measures the amount of carbon-14, or radiocarbon, present in a sample, which can be used to calculate its age. Around the world, only about 100 facilities house this equipment. [...] EurekAlert! / Link 2