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At this stage, other negatively charged atoms are unstable and cannot reach the detector.

The negatively charged carbon atoms, however, move on to the stripper (a gas or a metal foil) where they lose the electrons and emerge as the triple, positively charged carbon atoms.

Detectors at different angles of deflection then count the particles.

At the end of an AMS run, data gathered is not only the number of carbon 14 atoms in the sample but also the quantity of carbon 12 and carbon 13.

Mass spectrometers detect atoms of specific elements according to their atomic weights.

They, however, do not have the sensitivity to distinguish atomic isobars (atoms of different elements that have the same atomic weight, such as in the case of carbon 14 and nitrogen 14—the most common isotope of nitrogen).

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Lastly, it must be noted that AMS measurements usually achieve higher precision and lower backgrounds than radiometric dating methods.Due to the sensitivity of accelerator mass spectrometers, carbon dating small particles like blood particles, a grain, or a seed have been made possible.Accelerator mass spectrometry also takes less time to analyze samples for carbon 14 content compared to radiometric dating methods that can take one or two days.At this stage, molecules that may be present are eliminated because they cannot exist in this triple charged state.The carbon atoms with triple positive charge further accelerate away from the positive terminal and pass through another set of focusing devices where mass analysis occurs.

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