The variability of single grain quartz luminescence properties investigated using EMCCD imaging

Julie A. Durcan*, Geoff A.T. Duller

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Optically stimulated luminescence (OSL) signals from individual quartz grains are frequently used for equivalent dose and age determination in luminescence dating. Typically, signals from individual grains are stimulated with a focussed solid-state laser and detected via a photomultiplier tube. In contrast to the light-emitting diodes (LEDs) usually used when stimulating multiple-grain aliquots, the laser has a much higher stimulation power density. An absolute value for the effective stimulation power cannot easily be quantified, and the power delivered to each grain cannot be considered consistent throughout a measurement sequence. Both intra- and inter-sample variability in single grain luminescence signals parameters such as dose response form, decay rate, and sensitivity have long been recognised, however there remains uncertainty over how much of this variability is intrinsic to quartz grains or whether some should be attributed to variation in the effective stimulation power associated with the laser system. To better characterise intrinsic variability of single quartz OSL signals, an electron multiplier charge coupled device (EMCCD) attachment for the Risø reader was used for detecting and imaging luminescence signals. Whilst the EMCCD system currently offers a lower detection sensitivity when compared to the laser system, the ability to use LEDs for stimulation of the OSL signal circumvents the power variability associated with the laser system and allows an investigation of intrinsic variability to be made. In this paper, signal intensity and the composition of components in single grain luminescence signals are considered, and curve deconvolution is undertaken to calculate photo ionisation cross-sections for single grain quartz signals. For the samples considered, intra-sample variability in these characteristics is observed in single grain quartz luminescence signals imaged using an EMCCD.

Original languageEnglish
Article number106748
Number of pages10
JournalRadiation Measurements
Publication statusPublished - 18 Apr 2022


  • Components
  • OSL
  • Photo ionisation cross-section
  • Quartz
  • Single grain
  • TL


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