Serious technicians know how to compensate for this preference when dating samples.) With a half life of 5730 years, C in a piece of living organic matter will be the same as it is in the atmosphere but larger than in a piece of dead organic material.
This rare, unstable isotope is produced from ordinary nitrogen 14.
These isotopes are stable, which is why they are with us today, but unstable isotopes are also present in minute amounts.
About one carbon atom in a trillion (10) contains a radioactive nucleus with 6 protons and 8 neutrons — carbon 14.