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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.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.After pretreatment, samples for radiocarbon dating are prepared for use in an accelerator mass spectrometer by converting them into a solid graphite form.This is done by conversion to carbon dioxide with subsequent graphitization in the presence of a metal catalyst.From these data, concentration ratio of the isotopes can be known to allow evaluation of the level of fractionation.

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Accelerator mass spectrometry also takes less time to analyze samples for carbon 14 content compared to radiometric dating methods that can take one or two days.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.In mass analysis, a magnetic field is applied to these moving charged particles, which causes the particles to deflect from the path they are traveling.If the charged particles have the same velocity but different masses, as in the case of the carbon isotopes, the heavier particles are deflected least.

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