The Netherlands Centre for Luminescence dating is a collaboration of six universities and research centres in The Netherlands.Wageningen University & Research hosts the NCL and its facilities.Free electrons, excited mainly by environmental alpha, beta and gamma radiation, become trapped within the crystalline defects of minerals such as quartz and feldspar, and continue to accumulate until exposure to daylight or sufficient heat evicts them, bleaching the sample of its signal, and effectively resetting the ‘luminescence clock’ to zero.Once evicted from the ‘traps’ the electrons are attracted are attracted back to the ‘holes’ created by ionisation and, on recombination at these centres emit energy in the form of photons.Thereby the method can be used to determine the time of deposition and burial of sediments, or the time of baking of ceramic artefacts (pottery, brick).The method has a wide age range, covering the period from a few years to half a million years.
We develop new and improved luminescence dating methods, and we apply luminescence dating in collaboration with NCL partners and external users.
For calculating the annual dose rate, the elemental concentration of U, Th and K (by XRF or ICP-MS) in the sediment and water content in the sediment are required.
Luminescence dating provides absolute ages and has very important application in Quaternary geology and archaeology.
Luminescence dating is ideally suited for aeolian and coastal deposits, but is increasingly and successfully used for a wide range of other depositional environments (e.g.
Luminescence dating is used to identify when a sample was last exposed to daylight or extreme heat by estimating the amount of ionising radiation absorbed since burial or firing.