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The accumulation of trapped electrons, and the gaps left behind in the spaces they vacated, occurs at a measurable rate proportional to the radiation received from a specimen’s immediate environment.
When a specimen is reheated, the trapped energy is released in the form of light (thermoluminescence) as the electrons escape.
University of New Mexico Press: Albuquerque, NM, 1994.
Optically stimulated luminescence (OSL) dating or optical dating provides a measure of time since sediment grains were deposited and shielded from further light or heat exposure, which often effectively resets the luminescence signal (Fig. Discoveries in the 1980s and 1990s that exposure of quartz and feldspar grains to a tunable light source, initially with lasers and later by light-emitting diodes, yields luminescence components that are solar reset within seconds to minutes expanded greatly the utility of the method (Huntley et al. 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 compensate for laboratory-induced sensitivity changes (Murray and Wintle ) 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 10Common silicate minerals like quartz and potassium feldspar contain lattice-charge defects formed during crystallization and from subsequent exposure to ionizing radiation.
OSL dating provides an estimate of the time elapsed with latest period of burial and, thus, yields a depositional age (Fig.
1 h) light exposure with transport and deposition, particularly in eolian, littoral, and sublittoral sedimentary environments.
Free electrons are generated within the mineral matrix by exposure to ionizing radiation from the radioactive decay of daughter isotopes in the K releases beta and gamma radiation, whereas the decay in the U and Th series generates mostly alpha particles and some beta and gamma radiation.