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In this method, the sample is in liquid form and a scintillator is added.This scintillator produces a flash of light when it interacts with a beta particle.
An age could be estimated by measuring the amount of carbon-14 present in the sample and comparing this against an internationally used reference standard.
The principal modern standard used by radiocarbon dating labs was the Oxalic Acid I obtained from the National Institute of Standards and Technology in Maryland. Around 95% of the radiocarbon activity of Oxalic Acid I is equal to the measured radiocarbon activity of the absolute radiocarbon standard—a wood in 1890 unaffected by fossil fuel effects.
When the stocks of Oxalic Acid I were almost fully consumed, another standard was made from a crop of 1977 French beet molasses.
One of the interesting applications of radioactive decay is the technique of radioactive dating.
Radioactive dating allows the estimation of the age of any object which was alive once, using the natural radioactivity of .
In this method, the carbon 14 content is directly measured relative to the carbon 12 and carbon 13 present. Some inorganic matter, like a shell’s aragonite component, can also be dated as long as the mineral’s formation involved assimilation of carbon 14 in equilibrium with the atmosphere.