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The amount of light produced is a specific and measurable phenomenon.If the specimen’s sensitivity to ionizing radiation is known, as is the annual influx of radiation experienced by the specimen, the released thermoluminescence can be translated into a specific amount of time since the formation of the crystal structure.Powder samples (from pottery and bronze cores) are mixed with acetone and allowed to settle, so that fine grains, approximately 1/100mm. These grains are deposited and dried onto aluminium discs (for fine-grain analysis) or rhodium (for pre-dose analysis).Any remaining powder is dried and used for radioactivity measurements to complete the dating calculation. When the glue is dry, they are cut into slices 1/4mm thick with a fine diamond blade. Each slice is soaked in acetone after cutting to remove the glue. The remaining core is crushed and used for radioactive analysis to complete the dating calculation.TL Age = Palaeodose (P) _____________ (ARD) TL samples may be collected in open ended or opaque PVC tubes approximately 12cm in length and 6cm in diameter.Whilst it advisable to protect the sample from direct sunlight there is no need to sample at night and the orientation of the specimen is not important.Because this accumulation of trapped electrons begins with the formation of the crystal structure, thermoluminescence can date crystalline materials to their date of formation; for ceramics, this is the moment they are fired.The major source of error in establishing dates from thermoluminescence is a consequence of inaccurate measurements of the radiation acting on a specimen.

After burial the TL begins to build up again at a rate dependent upon the radiation flux delivered by long-lived isotopes of uranium, thorium and potassium.

Most mineral materials, including the constituents of pottery, have the property of thermoluminescence (TL), where part of the energy from radioactive decay in and around the mineral is stored (in the form of trapped electrons) and later released as light upon strong heating (as the electrons are detrapped and combine with lattice ions).

It is an absolute dating method, and does not depend on comparison with similar objects (as does obsidian hydration dating, for example).

These crystalline solids are constantly subjected to ionizing radiation from their environment, which causes some energized electrons to become trapped in defects in the molecular crystal structure.

An input of energy, such as heat, is required to free these trapped electrons.