For example, it can identify one carbon-14 isotope among a quadrillion other carbon atoms.
In the CAMS spectrometer, negative ions made in an ion source are accelerated in a field of hundreds of thousands of volts.
One of these was Walt Disney's Pinocchio which, due to the war, wasn't released in Germany until 1951 and he dubbed the voice of Lampwick.
“It’s amazing to see the variety of problems brought in for analysis,” says CAMS director Graham Bench.
When the aboveground test-ban treaty took effect in 1963, atmospheric levels of radiocarbon began to decline as carbon-14 migrated into the oceans and biosphere.
Living organisms naturally incorporate carbon into their tissues as the element moves through the food chain.
(See the box below.) Recent projects have applied bomb-pulse dating to help resolve three biologically based mysteries involving a missing-person’s cold case, neuron growth in the human brain, and proteins in the lens of the human eye.
It makes perfect sense that, 25 years ago, the Center for Accelerator Mass Spectrometry (CAMS) began as a joint effort.