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Ions from a cesium gun are then fired at the target wheel, producing negatively ionized carbon atoms.

These negatively ionized carbon atoms pass through focusing devices and an injection magnet before reaching the tandem accelerator where they are accelerated to the positive terminal by a voltage difference of two million volts.

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.

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.Reference materials are also pressed on metal discs.These metal discs are then mounted on a target wheel so they can be analyzed in sequence.An accelerator mass spectrometer has a run time of a few hours per sample.Lastly, it must be noted that AMS measurements usually achieve higher precision and lower backgrounds than radiometric dating methods.

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