The final velocity is a few percent of the speed of light or about 50 million miles per hour.
The analyzing and switching magnets select the mass of the radionuclide of interest, further reducing the intensity of neighboring stable isotopes.
They are used for a wide variety of dating and tracing applications in the geological and planetary sciences, archaeology, and biomedicine.
The following is a brief description of each element of the AMS system.
The bridge holds two long vacuum tubes with many glass (electrically insulating) sections.
The center of the accelerator, called the terminal, is charged to a voltage of up to 10 million volts by two rotating chains.
At this point the beam is about 10 microamps which corresponds to 10 ions per second (mostly the stable isotopes).
There are still lots of molecules and isobars (isotopes of neighboring elements having the same mass) that must be removed by more magnets after the accelerator.The tandem accelerator consists of two accelerating gaps with a large positive voltage in the middle.Think of it as a bridge that spans the inside of a large pressure vessel containing CO insulating gas at a pressure of over 10 atmospheres.These electrons are collected on metal plates, amplified, and read into the computer.For each atom, the computer determines the rate of energy loss and from that deduces the nuclear charge (element atomic number) to distinguish interfering isobars.The ion source produces a beam of ions (atoms that carry an electrical charge) from a few milligrams of solid material.