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Radiation

SOCIAL SPOTLIGHT: RADIOMETRIC DATING

Dating can be complicated. Our team uses this instrument — a live-timed anticoincidence counter — to figure the decay rate of an isotope, which we can then use to determine an object’s age in the geological history of our planet (through a process called radiometric dating). Encased in 6,350 kg (14,000 lbs.) of lead blocks to shield from external radiation, its two levels of detection make this one of the most precise instruments for radioactivity measurements at NIST. Right now, our team is preparing to better measure the decay of iodine-129, which could expand dating capabilities beyond carbon’s 50,000 years to 160,000,000 years. That’s a lot of history we’ll be able to account for.

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R. Wilson/NIST

News and Updates

Spotlight: Radiometric Dating

Dating can be complicated. Our team uses this instrument — a live-timed anticoincidence counter — to figure the decay rate of an isotope, which we can then use

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Tools and Instruments

Cabinet x-ray system

The Smiths Detection 6046si cabinet x-ray system was designed for security screening of bags, parcels and other objects of similar size. The system runs at 160

X-ray Backscatter Systems

X-ray backscatter systems are used for the screening of personnel for hidden weapons and other contraband. Unlike conventional radiographic x-ray systems

Neutron Imaging Facility (NIF)

Neutron Imaging, an Essential Tool for the Hydrogen Economy The problem that the NIST Neutron Imaging Facility (NIF) can address that directly impacts the

Cold Neutron Imaging Instrument

The Cold Neutron Imaging Instrument (CNII) was designed to be a flexible space to test, develop, and employ novel neutron imaging methods to realize different

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