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For example, techniques based on isotopes with half lives in the thousands of years, such as carbon-14, cannot be used to date materials that have ages on the order of billions of years, as the detectable amounts of the radioactive atoms and their decayed daughter isotopes will be too small to measure within the uncertainty of the instruments.One of the most widely used and well-known absolute dating techniques is carbon-14 (or radiocarbon) dating, which is used to date organic remains.of undoped samples under excitation in the UV/VUV spectral range was studied using a VUV spectrometer set-up equipped with a 150 W Hamamatsu deuterium lamp and Mc Pherson Model 302 VUV monochromator for excitation.
Some scientists prefer the terms chronometric or calendar dating, as use of the word "absolute" implies an unwarranted certainty of accuracy.
An additional problem with carbon-14 dates from archeological sites is known as the "old wood" problem.
It is possible, particularly in dry, desert climates, for organic materials such as from dead trees to remain in their natural state for hundreds of years before people use them as firewood or building materials, after which they become part of the archaeological record.
The development of accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) dating, which allows a date to be obtained from a very small sample, has been very useful in this regard.
Other radiometric dating techniques are available for earlier periods.