The University of Arizona

Balanced-Energy Counting Window for Stable Liquid Scintillation Radiocarbon Dating

Pall Theodórsson

Abstract


This paper describes an optimal radiocarbon counting window for liquid scintillation (LS) 14C dating that secures for unquenched as well as for heavily quenched dating samples maximal stability of 14C counting efficiency and theoretically minimal quench correction. In high-precision dating, a balanced counting window with fixed channel limits is frequently used, where about 3% of the highest part of the 14C spectrum is sacrificed for high 14C counting stability. The stability is, however, diminished for quenched samples. Therefore, this window is here replaced by a balanced fixed-energy 14C counting window where the channel limits depend on the quench level. The LS system used must have a linear amplifier and a multichannel analyzer. All samples are measured at a fixed high voltage. For energy calibration and determination of the quench level, the channel number of the middle of the 59.5-keV peak from an external 241Am gamma source is determined before and after measuring each sample. This counting mode is valuable in high-precision dating. It could be widely applied if adapted to systems with a logarithmic amplifier, generally used in LS dating.

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