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Thermoluminescence dating of ceramics

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"Optical dating" typically refers to OSL and IRSL, but not TL.All sediments and soils contain trace amounts of radioactive isotopes of elements such as potassium, uranium, thorium, and rubidium.

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The minerals that are measured are usually either quartz or potassium feldspar sand-sized grains, or unseparated silt-sized grains.Most luminescence dating methods rely on the assumption that the mineral grains were sufficiently "bleached" at the time of the event being dated.For example, in quartz a short daylight exposure in the range of 1–100 seconds before burial is sufficient to effectively “reset” the OSL dating clock.The traditional OSL method relies on optical stimulation and transfer of electrons from one trap, to holes located elsewhere in the lattice – necessarily requiring two defects to be in nearby proximity, and hence it is a destructive technique.The problem is that nearby electron/hole trapping centres suffer from localized tunneling, eradicating their signal over time; it is this issue that currently defines the upper age-limit for OSL dating In 1994, the principles behind optical and thermoluminescence dating were extended to include surfaces made of granite, basalt and sandstone, such as carved rock from ancient monuments and artifacts.Feldspar IRSL techniques have the potential to extend the datable range out to a million years as feldspars typically have significantly higher dose saturation levels than quartz, though issues regarding anomalous fading will need to be dealt with first.

The concept of using luminescence dating in archaeological contexts was first suggested in 1953 by Farrington Daniels, Charles A. Saunders, who thought the thermoluminescence response of pottery shards could date the last incidence of heating.

The trapped charge accumulates over time at a rate determined by the amount of background radiation at the location where the sample was buried.

Stimulating these mineral grains using either light (blue or green for OSL; infrared for IRSL) or heat (for TL) causes a luminescence signal to be emitted as the stored unstable electron energy is released, the intensity of which varies depending on the amount of radiation absorbed during burial and specific properties of the mineral.

Two standard methods, the “fine-grain technique” and the “quartz inclusion technique”, and a new method, the pre-dose saturation exponential technique in thermoluminescence (TL) dating of ancient pottery and porcelain were reviewed, especially for the measurement of the paleodose and the annual dose.

The two standard methods have been acknowledged in domain of TL dating and are used widely for age determination in archaeology and geology.

It uses various methods to stimulate and measure luminescence.