What is thermoluminescence dating

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Thermoluminescence is a form of luminescence that is exhibited by certain crystalline materials, such as some minerals, when previously absorbed energy from electromagnetic radiation or other ionizing radiation is re-emitted as light upon heating of the material.The phenomenon is distinct from that of black body radiation.Final sections deal with limitations in age range, accuracy and error limits.The emission of light when certain solids are warmed, generally to a temperature lower than that needed to provoke visible incandescence.The basic principles are explained in terms of thermoluminescence dating of pottery, with particular regard for the interests of archaeologists.

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Many natural minerals are thermoluminescent, but the most efficient materials of this type are specially formulated synthetic solids (phosphors).High energy radiation creates electronic excited states in crystalline materials.In some materials, these states are trapped, or arrested, for extended periods of time by localized defects, or imperfections, in the lattice interrupting the normal intermolecular or inter-atomic interactions in the crystal lattice.Carbon dating of charcoal inside the furnaces revealed dates as far back as 280 B.C., giving Nok the earliest dates for iron smelting in sub-Saharan Africa up to that time.

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