Optimising the separation of quartz and feldspar optically stimulated luminescence using pulsed excitation

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    In luminescence dating, the two most commonly used natural minerals, quartz and feldspar, are exposed to different dose rates in the natural environment, and so record different doses. The luminescence signals also have different stabilities. For accurate dosimetry, the signals from these two minerals must be separated, either by physical separation of the mineral grains, or by instrumental separation of the luminescence signals. The luminescence signals from quartz and feldspar have different luminescence lifetimes under pulsed optical stimulation. This difference in lifetime can be used to discriminate between the two signals from a mixed quartz-feldspar sample. The purpose of this study is to identify optimum measurement conditions for the best separation of quartz OSL from that of feldspar in a mixed sample using pulsed stimulation and time-resolved OSL. We integrate the signal from 5 μs after the LEDs are switched off until just before the LEDs are switched on again, with the pulse on-time equal to the pulse off-time of 50 μs. By using only the initial interval of the pulsed OSL decay curve (equivalent to 0.2 s of CW-OSL using blue light at 50 mW cm−2) we find that the quartz to feldspar pulsed OSL intensity ratio is at a maximum. By using these parameters with an additional infrared (IR) stimulation at 175 °C before measurement (to further reduce the feldspar signal intensity), we obtain a factor of 25 enhancement in signal separation compared to that from a conventional prior-IR CW measurement. This ratio can be further improved if the counting window in the pulse off-time is restricted to detect between 20 and 50 μs instead of the entire off-period.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalRadiation Measurements
    Issue number7
    Pages (from-to)778-785
    Publication statusPublished - 2010


    • Radiation research and nuclear technologies
    • Radiation physics


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