Optically stimulated luminescence dating laboratory
This instrument stimulates the luminescence signal of the sand through shining the sample with blue or infrared light-emitting-didoes (LEDs), which give the electrons enough energy to escape their traps and recombine elsewhere, emitting a photon of light.
We measure this emitted light (the luminescence) and this is the first stage towards measuring the sample age.
It is necessary to use red light conditions in the laboratory because the luminescence signal is light sensitive, and red light does not re-set it.
The methods through which dose rates are calculated vary between different laboratories worldwide.
The radiation dose rate is also measured in grays, but as we calculate the dose rate per thousand years, it is grays per thousand years (Gy/ka). A robust feldspar luminescence dating method for Middle and Late Pleistocene sediments.
The technique can be applied to a wide variety of heated materials, including archaeological ceramics, burnt stones, burnt flints, and contact-heated soils and sediments associated with archaeological or natural events.
Optically bleached materials of interest to quaternary science include aeolian, fluvial, alluvial, and marine sediments.
Measuring the environmental dose rate for an OSL sample from Glen Tulla, Scotland.