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By knowing how much carbon 14 is left in a sample, the age of the organism when it died can be known.It must be noted though that radiocarbon dating results indicate when the organism was alive but not when a material from that organism was used.This scintillator produces a flash of light when it interacts with a beta particle.
Radiocarbon activity of materials in the background is also determined to remove its contribution from results obtained during a sample analysis.It is rapidly oxidized in air to form carbon dioxide and enters the global carbon cycle.Plants and animals assimilate carbon 14 from carbon dioxide throughout their lifetimes.Over the years, carbon 14 dating has also found applications in geology, hydrology, geophysics, atmospheric science, oceanography, paleoclimatology and even biomedicine.Radiocarbon, or carbon 14, is an isotope of the element carbon that is unstable and weakly radioactive. Carbon 14 is continually being formed in the upper atmosphere by the effect of cosmic ray neutrons on nitrogen 14 atoms.
When they die, they stop exchanging carbon with the biosphere and their carbon 14 content then starts to decrease at a rate determined by the law of radioactive decay.