Natural 14C can be used in numerous applications, of which radiocarbon dating, with the possibility for dating back to about 50000 years, is among the best-known and most practiced applications.
Radiocarbon dating is based on the property that the activity concentration of 14C in dead tissues can be used to calculate the time that has elapsed since death occurred. More details Reporting time At present (March 2017) it takes ca 2-3 months (excluding periods when the laboratory is closed for holidays) from the arrival of a sample until we report the result to the customer.
This is possible since all living organisms contain nearly the same proportion of radioactive carbon in their carbon stores and since, upon the death of the organism, the carbon which survives decomposition continuously loses 14C by its radioactive decay. This applies to normal samples, and the time varies depending on the type of material.
Reporting time for fast handling is maximum 6 weeks but normally 3-4 weeks.
Plant macrofossils, charcoal, wood, peat, seeds, cloth, paper, leather, soil, bone and ivory make up the palette of sample types that we deal although basically, if it's organic it can be dated.
In addition, shales (carbonates), lime mortar and some secondary carbonates in sediments and soils may be suitable for dating.
LIMITATION OF DAMAGES: While we do everything we can to process all samples with care, samples can be lost at any stage of the process.
We cannot be liable for lost samples or the consequences thereof beyond the price paid for the analysis.
We discourage the dating of bulk soil, peat, or sediments, because those materials are often a mixture of components with widely differing ages.
The preferred minimum sample size for a C measurement is 1 mg carbon.
Our usual turnaround time is from 3 to 8 weeks (excluding any major accelerator maintenance).
The Radiocarbon Dating Laboratory in Lund performs dating on geological and archaeological samples.
ANSTO's ability to analyse your samples for long-lived, naturally-occurring radioisotopes opens up a huge range of dating and tracing applications.