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.
One is the cyclotron, and the other is a tandem electrostatic accelerator.
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.
Thanks to nuclear physics, mass spectrometers have been fine-tuned to separate a rare isotope from an abundant neighboring mass, and accelerator mass spectrometry was born.
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.
Burning the samples to convert them into graphite, however, also introduces other elements into the sample like nitrogen 14.