What is thermoluminescence dating
Heating the substance at temperatures of about 450° C (842° F) and higher enables the trapped electrons to return to their normal positions, resulting in the release of energy.
The intensity of the emission can be correlated to the length of time that a given substance was exposed to radiation; the longer the time allowed for the radiation to build up an inventory of trapped electrons, the greater the energy released.
The major source of error in establishing dates from thermoluminescence is a consequence of inaccurate measurements of the radiation acting on a specimen.
The complex history of radioactive force on a sample can be difficult to estimate.
This is useful for ceramics, as it determines the date of firing, as well as for lava, or even sediments that were exposed to substantial sunlight.
These crystalline solids are constantly subjected to ionizing radiation from their environment, which causes some energized electrons to become trapped in defects in the molecular crystal structure.
Should I be concerned about artificial irradiation? If the radioactivity of the pottery itself, and its surroundings, is measured, the dose rate, or annual increment of dose, may be computed.
Warning about fakes using ancient materials What about airport x-rays and radiography? Thus, when one measures dose in pottery, it is the dose accumulated since it was fired, unless there was a subsequent reheating.
While not so accurate as radiocarbon dating, which cannot date pottery (except from soot deposits on cooking pots), TL has found considerable usefulness in the authenticity of ceramic art objects where high precision is not necessary.
The thermoluminescence technique is the only physical means of determining the absolute age of pottery presently available.
General references Links to other useful sites BACK TO HOME PAGE HOW DOES THERMOLUMINESCENCE DATING WORK?
When a specimen is reheated, the trapped energy is released in the form of light (thermoluminescence) as the electrons escape.
The amount of light produced is a specific and measurable phenomenon.
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In all, close to two dozen physical quantities must be accurately measured to establish the relationship between doses of different kinds of radiation and light output, and to compute dose rate.