Spatially-resolved thermoluminescence from snail opercula using an EMCCD

G.A. T. Duller, Myungho Kook, Rosemary Jane Stirling, H. M. Roberts, Andrew Murray

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In recent years opercula of the snail species Bithynia tentaculata have been shown to emit thermoluminescence (TL) signals that can be used to determine equivalent dose, and may be capable of dating events throughout the entire Quaternary period. Concentric growth lines are a notable feature of almost all B. tentaculata opercula, but it is not known whether the luminescence emitted by the opercula is influenced by these structures. This study uses a newly developed EMCCD imaging system to measure the TL signals from opercula. A combination of microscopic analysis of the opercula using visible imagery, and measurement of the TL using the EMCCD system has been undertaken. Variations in TL intensity and equivalent dose (De) are seen, but the two are not correlated. Changes in TL intensity broadly mimic the concentric growth structures, but the largest variations in intensity are between different margins of the opercula, not individual growth bands. The EMCCD system makes it possible to produce a two dimensional map of the De measured from an operculum. Dose recovery experiments give De values that are consistent with each other across the whole opercula. Measurement of the De arising from irradiation in nature shows significant variability across a single operculum, but at present the reason for this variability is unknown.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)157-162
Number of pages6
JournalRadiation Measurements
Early online date22 Jan 2015
Publication statusPublished - 21 Oct 2015


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