Isotopes of a given element carry different numbers of neutrons, or neutrally charged particles, in their nuclei.The sum of the number of neutrons and protons in an atom's nucleaus defines its approximate atomic weight.These two radiocarbon dating methods use modern standards such as oxalic acid and other reference materials.Although both radiocarbon dating methods produce high-quality results, they are fundamentally different in principle.Beta particles originate in the nucleus, presumably by breakdown of a neutron into its proton-electron components.Gamma rays are released during both types of radioactive decay.The most widely known form of radiometric dating is carbon-14 dating.This is what archaeologists use to determine the age of human-made artifacts. The half-life of carbon-14 is only 5,730 years, so carbon-14 dating is only effective on samples that are less than 50,000 years old.

A method has finally been developed to detect carbon 14 in a given sample and ignore the more abundant isotopes that swamp the carbon 14 signal.Radiometric dating methods detect beta particles from the decay of carbon 14 atoms while accelerator mass spectrometers count the number of carbon 14 atoms present in the sample.Both carbon dating methods have advantages and disadvantages.There are two techniques in measuring radiocarbon in samples—through radiometric dating and by Accelerator Mass Spectrometry (AMS).The two techniques are used primarily in determining carbon 14 content of archaeological artifacts and geological samples.Dinosaur bones, on the other hand, are millions of years old -- some fossils are billions of years old.