Radio decay dating

This is because there is carbon dioxide (CO exchange, and so the ratio of C-14 to the far more common carbon isotope, C-12, will begin to decrease as the C-14 atoms decay, yielding nitrogen (N-14) with the emission of an electron (or "beta particle") plus an anti-neutrino.The ratio of C-14 to C-12 in the atmosphere's carbon dioxide molecules is about 1.3×10, and this value is assumed constant for the main part of archaeological history since the formation of the earth's atmosphere.

We get an expression for the number of atoms remaining, N, as a proportion of the number of atoms N, where the quantity l, known as the "radioactive decay constant", depends on the particular radioactive substance.

Exactly the same treatment can be applied to radioactive decay.

However, now the "thin slice" is an interval of time, and the dependent variable is the number of radioactive atoms present, N(t). If we have a sample of atoms, and we consider a time interval short enough that the population of atoms hasn't changed significantly through decay, then the proportion of atoms decaying in our short time interval will be proportional to the length of the interval.

Again, we find a "chance" process being described by an exponential decay law.

We can easily find an expression for the chance that a radioactive atom will "survive" (be an original element atom) to at least a time t.

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