Luminescence dating

Scientists in North America first developed thermoluminescence dating of rock minerals in the s and s, and the University of Oxford, England first developed the thermoluminescence dating of fired ceramics in the s and s. During the s and s scientists at Simon Frasier University, Canada, developed standard thermoluminescence dating procedures used to date sediments. In , they also developed optically stimulated luminescence dating techniques, which use laser light, to date sediments. The microscopic structure of some minerals and ceramics trap nuclear radioactive energy. This energy is in constant motion within the minerals or sherds. Most of the energy escapes as heat, but sometimes this energy separates electrons from the molecules that make up the minerals or ceramics.

School of Geography and the Environment, University of Oxford

In physics , optically stimulated luminescence OSL is a method for measuring doses from ionizing radiation. It is used in at least two applications:. The method makes use of electrons trapped between the valence and conduction bands in the crystalline structure of certain minerals most commonly quartz and feldspar. The ionizing radiation produces electron-hole pairs: Electrons are in the conduction band and holes in the valence band.

(), optical dating is being increasingly recognised as an important technique for establishing a time frame of deposition of sediments. (Aitken, ). Optical.

The OSL optically stimulated luminescence dating method exploits dosimetric properties of grains of minerals naturally occurring in sediments and man-made materials. In archaeology the OSL method is used to date pottery and other heated materials e. When compared with the radiocarbon method it makes possible dating objects containing no organic matter or originating in periods for which the radiocarbon method is less accurate due to the shape or lack of the calibration curve.

This paper discusses the details of recent advances in the method and several examples of its application to material from archaeological excavations of Medieval to Palaeolithic sites. Skip to main content Skip to sections. This service is more advanced with JavaScript available. Advertisement Hide.

Download book PDF. Conference paper. Download to read the full conference paper text. Aitken M. Introduction to optical dating: the dating of Quaternary sediments by the use of photon-stimulated luminescence. Oxford: Oxford University Press, Google Scholar.

Optically Stimulated Luminescence dating

The Luminescence Dating and Dosimetry Laboratory is developing new techniques for application to the dating of artefacts and deposits from sites that range widely in terms of chronological period, geographic location and material type. Recent work as focused on optically stimulated luminescence OSL techniques, in particular a novel experimental approach to the measurement of single grain OSL. A study produced, for the first time, absolute dates for a range of brick stupas located within the hinterland of Anuradhapura , contributing to the further development of a brick monument chronology for the region.

Ongoing work is examining whether unfired clay bricks from various sites can be dated accurately.

The OSL (optically stimulated luminescence) dating method exploits dosimetric properties of grains of minerals naturally occurring in sediments and man-made.

This paper aims to provide an overview concerning the optically stimulated luminescence OSL dating method and its applications for geomorphological research in France. An outline of the general physical principles of luminescence dating is given. A case study of fluvial sands from the lower terrace of the Moselle valley is then presented to describe the range of field and laboratory procedures required for successful luminescence dating. The paper also reviews the place of OSL dating in geomorphological research in France and assesses its potential for further research, by focusing on the diversity of sedimentary environments and topics to which it can be usefully applied.

Hence it underlines the increasing importance of the method to geomorphological research, especially by contributing to the development of quantitative geomorphology. They are now largely used to date not only palaeontological or organic remains, but also minerals that characterise detrital clastic sedimentary material. The most common methods applied to minerals are cosmogenic radionuclides, electron spin resonance ESR and luminescence techniques.

The latter were first applied to burned minerals from archaeological artefacts [thermoluminescence TL method]. Improvements of this technique led to the development, for more than twenty years, of the optical dating method [commonly referred to as Optically Stimuled Luminescence OSL ] which is now applied to sediments from various origins Wintle, The aim of this paper is to provide people involved in geomorphological research a global overview about the principles and procedures of optical dating, from the field sampling to the age interpretation.

Most of the publications actually focus on one part of either the method e. The general principles of the method are described first. The paper then explains how OSL dating is applied to obtain a depositional age, through the field and laboratory procedures employed.

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Resources home v2. Introduction Services Prices. Application Central for samples up to about Lund containing quartz. Technical Geography Laboratory All sediments contain trace minerals including uranium, thorium and potassium. Water Content Calibration Water within the soil has an attenuating effect on the ambient radiation. Consequently, samples analysed without price of their water content or using a low estimate of water content will return ages younger than samples corrected for this luminescence.

Chronological Methods 12 – Luminescence Dating In , they also developed optically stimulated luminescence dating techniques, which use laser light.

Luminescence dating including thermoluminescence and optically stimulated luminescence is a type of dating methodology that measures the amount of light emitted from energy stored in certain rock types and derived soils to obtain an absolute date for a specific event that occurred in the past. The method is a direct dating technique , meaning that the amount of energy emitted is a direct result of the event being measured. Better still, unlike radiocarbon dating , the effect luminescence dating measures increases with time.

As a result, there is no upper date limit set by the sensitivity of the method itself, although other factors may limit the method’s feasibility. To put it simply, certain minerals quartz, feldspar, and calcite , store energy from the sun at a known rate. This energy is lodged in the imperfect lattices of the mineral’s crystals. Heating these crystals such as when a pottery vessel is fired or when rocks are heated empties the stored energy, after which time the mineral begins absorbing energy again.

TL dating is a matter of comparing the energy stored in a crystal to what “ought” to be there, thereby coming up with a date-of-last-heated. In the same way, more or less, OSL optically stimulated luminescence dating measures the last time an object was exposed to sunlight. Luminescence dating is good for between a few hundred to at least several hundred thousand years, making it much more useful than carbon dating.

The term luminescence refers to the energy emitted as light from minerals such as quartz and feldspar after they’ve been exposed to an ionizing radiation of some sort. Minerals—and, in fact, everything on our planet—are exposed to cosmic radiation : luminescence dating takes advantage of the fact that certain minerals both collect and release energy from that radiation under specific conditions.

Crystalline rock types and soils collect energy from the radioactive decay of cosmic uranium, thorium, and potassium

Optically Stimulated Luminescence

Up to now not a single dating technique has been developed for in-situ planetary exploration. The only information on the age of extraterrestrial planetary surfaces comes from the “crater-counting” method. This method has an inherent large error and low resolution and is completely inadequate for local geology.

Recent advances in OSL dating techniques for feldspar, may result in this becoming the.

Chronology is a crucial scientific question for both archaeologic and paleoenvironmental studies on the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau QTP. In the QB, very few early archaeological sites were found, because of the erosional environment, which is not suitable for the preservation of human activity remains HARs. As a result, artifacts were usually found on the ground surface, e.

Methodologically, both OSL dating and 14 C dating should be suitable for archaeological sites in aeolian sediments. Hou et al. Sun et al. These studies showed agreement between OSL and 14 C dating and offered reliable chronologies for these sites; however, more disagreements were found with the increasing amount of ages.

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Please reference: Mallinson, D. Optically stimulated luminescence is a method of determining the age of burial of quartz or feldspar bearing sediments based upon principles of radiation and excitation within crystal lattices, and stems from the fact that imperfections in a crystal lattice have the ability to store ionizing energy Aitken , ; Botter -Jensen et al.

Radiation within sediments comes from alpha, beta, and gamma radiation emitted during the decay of U, U, Th, 40 K, and 87 Rb, and their daughter products, both within the mineral grains and in their surroundings Lian , , and from cosmic rays Figure 1. Under controlled laboratory conditions, assuming the sample was collected under light-restricted conditions, controlled exposure of the sample to photons yields a luminescence response the equivalent dose, D e , the intensity of which is a function of the dose rate within the sediment, and the length of time the sample was exposed to the background radiation.

Optically Stimulated Luminescence dating is a technique of dating Late Quaternary sediments deposited by various transporting agencies after their erosion.

The impetus behind this study is to understand the sedimentological dynamics of very young fluvial systems in the Amazon River catchment and relate these to land use change and modern analogue studies of tidal rhythmites in the geologic record. Many of these features have an appearance of freshly deposited pristine sand, and these observations and information from anecdotal evidence and LandSat imagery suggest an apparent decadal stability.

Signals from medium-sized aliquots 5 mm diameter exhibit very high specific luminescence sensitivity, have excellent dose recovery and recycling, essentially independent of preheat, and show minimal heat transfer even at the highest preheats. Significant recuperation is observed for samples from two of the study sites and, in these instances, either the acceptance threshold was increased or growth curves were forced through the origin; recuperation is considered most likely to be a measurement artefact given the very small size of natural signals.

Despite the use of medium-sized aliquots to ensure the recovery of very dim natural OSL signals, these results demonstrate the potential of OSL for studying very young active fluvial processes in these settings. An important facet of the development of a geochronological technique is the investigation of potential age range. Much recent work in the luminescence field has focused on maximum achievable ages using high-temperature post-infrared infrared pIRIR signals from feldspars [ 1 , 2 ].

In contrast for quartz optically stimulated luminescence OSL , the more efficient signal resetting coupled with environments where grain reworking is evident make it well suited to assessment of minimum achievable age.

Optical Stimulated Luminescence (OSL) Dating in Geoarchaeological Research


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