Why does carbon-14 have a very long half-life?

May 30th, 2011
by Joseph Magill

The long half-life of C-14 is very useful in that it allows archaeologists to date ancient objects back to about 60,000 years. But why exactly is the half-life of carbon-14 so long? Other light nuclei have much shorter half-lives in the range seconds to minutes (see neighbouring nuclides in the Karlsruhe Nuclide Chart). This puzzle has recently been resolved in a paper just published in Phys. Rev. Letts.
References
P. Maris, J. Vary, P. Navrátil, W. Ormand, H. Nam, D. Dean. Origin of the Anomalous Long Lifetime of ^{14}C. Physical Review Letters, 2011; 106 (20) DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.106.202502, pdf

See also Karlsruhe Nuclide Chart

Posted in Karlsruhe Nuclide Chart, Nucleonica | Comments (0)

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