Carbon-14 dating facility set up in Mangalore Varsity

Carbon-14 dating facility set up in Mangalore University

The facility at the Centre for Advanced Research in Environmental Radioactivity (CARER), Mangalore University.

The Centre for Advanced Research in Environmental Radioactivity (CARER), Mangalore University, has established a facility for Carbon-14 dating of archaeological artifacts or materials of biogenic origin based on Liquid Scintillation Counting technique.

Carbon-14 dating is a method for determining the age of an object containing organic material by using the properties of radiocarbon, a radioactive isotope of carbon, Mangalore University Registrar Raju Mogaveera said on Thursday.

The method was developed in the late 1940s at the University of Chicago by Willard Libby, who received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for this work in 1960. Measuring the amount of Carbon-14 in a sample from a dead plant or animal, such as a piece of wood or a fragment of bone, provides information that can be used to calculate when the animal or plant had died.

He said this facility has been established through financial support from the Board of Research in Nuclear Sciences (BRNS), Department of Atomic Energy (DAE), Government of India. Through a research project sanctioned by BRNS, DAE and with collaboration with Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC), Mumbai the CARER had undertaken a study for standardising method for Carbon-14 measurements in the vicinity of nuclear power plants.

A team of scientists led by Prof Karunakara, in collaboration with Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC), Mumbai, has standardised a batch method for the thermal combustion of the samples by tube furnace system for Carbon-14 measurements. The spin-off application of this method is its application for determining the age of the material up to 30,000 years old.

He said the Centre for Advanced Research in Environmental Radioactivity (CARER) with state-of-the-art facilities has been established by the Mangalore University as a national facility through financial support from the BRNS, DAE. This is an advanced centre for radioecological and radiation protection research in the country with collaborations with many advanced laboratories of the world.