Radioactive dating art forgeries
For instance, carbon-14 has a half-life of 5,730 years.
After an organism has been dead for 60,000 years, so little carbon-14 is left that accurate dating cannot be established.
After one half-life has elapsed, one half of the atoms of the nuclide in question will have decayed into a "daughter" nuclide or decay product.
In many cases, the daughter nuclide itself is radioactive, resulting in a decay chain, eventually ending with the formation of a stable (nonradioactive) daughter nuclide; each step in such a chain is characterized by a distinct half-life.
For most radioactive nuclides, the half-life depends solely on nuclear properties and is essentially a constant.
This normally involves isotope-ratio mass spectrometry. The precision of a dating method depends in part on the half-life of the radioactive isotope involved.
As the mineral cools, the crystal structure begins to form and diffusion of isotopes is less easy.
At a certain temperature, the crystal structure has formed sufficiently to prevent diffusion of isotopes.
On the other hand, the concentration of carbon-14 falls off so steeply that the age of relatively young remains can be determined precisely to within a few decades.
If a material that selectively rejects the daughter nuclide is heated, any daughter nuclides that have been accumulated over time will be lost through diffusion, setting the isotopic "clock" to zero.
Among the best-known techniques are radiocarbon dating, potassium–argon dating and uranium–lead dating.