Due to the sensitivity of accelerator mass spectrometers, carbon dating small particles like blood particles, a grain, or a seed have been made possible.
Accelerator mass spectrometry also takes less time to analyze samples for carbon 14 content compared to radiometric dating methods that can take one or two days.
At the end of an AMS run, data gathered is not only the number of carbon 14 atoms in the sample but also the quantity of carbon 12 and carbon 13.
Mass spectrometers detect atoms of specific elements according to their atomic weights.
They, however, do not have the sensitivity to distinguish atomic isobars (atoms of different elements that have the same atomic weight, such as in the case of carbon 14 and nitrogen 14—the most common isotope of nitrogen).
An accelerator mass spectrometer, although a powerful tool, is also a costly one.
Establishing and maintaining an accelerator mass spectrometer costs millions of dollars.