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thermoluminescence

thermoluminescence Luminescence produced in a solid when its temperature is raised. It arises when free charge carriers, trapped in a solid as a result of exposure to ionizing radiation, unite and emit photons of light. The process is made use of in thermoluminescent dating, which assumes that the number of charge carriers trapped in a sample of pottery is related to the length of time that has elapsed since the pottery was fired. By comparing the luminescence produced by heating a piece of pottery of unknown age with the luminescence produced by heating similar materials of known age, a fairly accurate estimate of the age of an object can be made.

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thermoluminescence

ther·mo·lu·mi·nes·cence / ˌ[unvoicedth]ərmōˌloōməˈnesəns/ • n. the property of some materials that have accumulated energy over a long period of becoming luminescent when pretreated and subjected to high temperatures, used as a means of dating ancient ceramics and other artifacts. DERIVATIVES: ther·mo·lu·mi·nes·cent adj.

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thermoluminescence

thermoluminescence A phenomenon whereby certain minerals, when slowly heated to temperatures below their level of incandescence, emit light. Some minerals will do this only when in contact with oxygen (or air) and in this case it is known as oxyluminescence. The light energy emitted is measured using a photomultiplier and recorded as a function of temperature, to produce a ‘glow curve’.

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