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The OSL is further divided, based on the colour (wavelength) of the excitation light source, into Blue Light Stimulated Luminescence (BLSL) and Infrared Stimulated Luminescence (IRSL)Luminescence dating requires a proper resetting of the previously acquired (pre depositional) luminescence in the natural minerals into a very low level (natural zeroing event), either by exposure to sun light during pre-depositional transportation (by wind, water etc.) or by a thermal event (pottery making, baking by lava, fusion crest of meteorites), before deposition.
Following the natural zeroing event and subsequent burial, the natural minerals begin luminescence acquisition afresh from the ionizing radiation (alpha, beta and gamma) constantly provided by the decay of radioactive elements (U238, Th232, K40, Rb) present in the sediments and also from the cosmic rays.
For calculating the age, the radiation energy stored in the mineral (known as Paleodose) and the annual radioactivity rate (annual dose) from the surrounding sediments has to be calculated.
The time elapsed since sedimentation, i.e., Age = Paleodose Annual Dose In practice, the paleodose is calculated by measuring the luminescence intensity in the natural mineral and regenerate the equivalent luminescence intensity by artificial radiation dose from a calibrated beta source attached to the TL/OSL instrument.
Once the pottery has cooled, the thermoluminescence begins to accumulate again at a constant rate.
In addition our researchers continuously engage in efforts to improve and develop the methodology and to further advance our knowledge on the fundamental physical mechanisms underlying the dating method.
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The amount of TL is measured using a sensitive detector known as a photomultiplier tube.
The intensity of the thermoluminescence is proportional to the time that has elapsed since the pottery was removed from the kiln; hence, whereas there is a relatively bright signal from an ancient pottery object, a modern piece of pottery will emit little or no light when it is reheated as only a short time has elapsed since it was fired and there has not been sufficient time for the thermoluminescence to build up to a measurable signal.