G. Barrett, N. O’Neill-Munro, K. Allen, J. Simpson
To get a radiocarbon age we run a ‘magazine’ of samples/targets (left) in our MICADAS accelerator. This magazine consists of a mixture of samples of known (reference standards) and unknown age as well as background samples. The standards of known age allow us to check that the machine (AMS) is producing accurate ages. The background samples allow us to figure out how much contamination is coming from our pretreatment or from the machine itself. Once in the magazine is prepped it gets inserted into the ‘source’ (right). In the source, measurements are carried out on the target for about 2 minutes 30 seconds before swapping to the next target. All targets are measured this way before going back to the first target and repeating the process for all targets (a cycle or pass). We usually carry out at least 10 passes or 25 minutes running on a target in order to produce a radiocarbon date.