The procedures used to isolate and analyze the parent and daughter nuclides must be precise and accurate.This normally involves isotope-ratio mass spectrometry. The precision of a dating method depends in part on the half-life of the radioactive isotope involved.Precision is enhanced if measurements are taken on multiple samples from different locations of the rock body.
At a certain temperature, the crystal structure has formed sufficiently to prevent diffusion of isotopes.
This predictability allows the relative abundances of related nuclides to be used as a clock to measure the time from the incorporation of the original nuclides into a material to the present.
The basic equation of radiometric dating requires that neither the parent nuclide nor the daughter product can enter or leave the material after its formation.
Radiometric dating is also used to date archaeological materials, including ancient artifacts.
Different methods of radiometric dating vary in the timescale over which they are accurate and the materials to which they can be applied.