Background radiocarbon activity is measured, and the values obtained are deducted from the sample’s radiocarbon dating results.
Background samples analyzed are usually geological in origin of infinite age such as coal, lignite, and limestone.
Over the years, other secondary radiocarbon standards have been made.
Radiocarbon activity of materials in the background is also determined to remove its contribution from results obtained during a sample analysis.
This scintillator produces a flash of light when it interacts with a beta particle.
A vial with a sample is passed between two photomultipliers, and only when both devices register the flash of light that a count is made.
The new standard, Oxalic Acid II, was proven to have only a slight difference with Oxalic Acid I in terms of radiocarbon content.
Liquid scintillation counting is another radiocarbon dating technique that was popular in the 1960s.
In this method, the sample is in liquid form and a scintillator is added.
There are three principal techniques used to measure carbon 14 content of any given sample— gas proportional counting, liquid scintillation counting, and accelerator mass spectrometry.
Gas proportional counting is a conventional radiometric dating technique that counts the beta particles emitted by a given sample. In this method, the carbon sample is first converted to carbon dioxide gas before measurement in gas proportional counters takes place.