Optical luminescence dating

These charge defects are potential sites of electron storage with a variety of trap-depth energies.

A subpopulation of stored electrons with trap depths of ~1.3 to 3 e V is a subsequent source for time-diagnostic luminescence emissions.

Free electrons are generated within the mineral matrix by exposure to ionizing radiation from the radioactive decay of daughter isotopes in the 235U, 238U and 232Th decay series, and a radioactive isotope of potassium, 40K, with lesser contributions from the decay of 85Rb and cosmic sources.

The radioactive decay of 40K releases beta and gamma radiation, whereas the decay in the U and Th series generates mostly alpha particles and some beta and gamma radiation.

Muscovite is a mineral commonly found along quartz in sediments, where the latter is the mineral of choice in numerous optically stimulated luminescence (OSL) dating studies.In addition, the inherent residual level is influenced by the susceptibility of the luminescence signal of a specific mineral to solar resetting.The OSL signal of potassium feldspar is usually more resista nt to solar resetting than most quartz.(f) Careful sampling without light exposure and measuring of the natural luminescence, followed by a normalizing test dose (Ln/Tn) compared to the regenerative dose to yield an equivalent dose (De) (from Mellet, 2013).The exposure of quartz and feldspar grains to sunlight for 60 seconds effectively diminishes the time-stored OSL signal to a low definable level.

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In the past 15 years there have been significant advances in luminescence dating with the advent of single aliquot and grain analysis, and associated protocols with blue/green diodes that can effectively compensated for laboratory induced sensitivity changes (Murray and Wintle, 2003; Wintle and Murray, 2006; Duller, 2012) and render accurate ages for the past ca. Most recently, the development of protocols for inducing the thermal-transfer of deeply trapped electrons has extended potentially OSL dating to the 106 year timescale for well solar-reset quartz and potassium feldspar grains from eolian and littoral environments (Duller and Wintle, 2012).

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