Understanding the metastable states in K-Na aluminosilicates using novel site-selective excitation-emission spectroscopy

R. Kumar, M. Kook, M. Jain

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Optically stimulated luminescence (OSL) and thermoluminescence (TL) from the metastable states in solids are widely used in luminescent phosphors, dosimetry, geochronology, and thermo-and photo-chronometry. OSL and TL result from a combination of three different processes (charge detrapping, transport, and recombination) and are, therefore, not ideal for characterizing the charge trapping states. Therefore, despite many decades of research, the OSL and TL kinetics and the associated defect systems remain poorly understood in natural minerals. Recently, a radio-photoluminescence (RPL) signal has been discovered in feldspar (K-Na-Ca aluminosilicates occupying > 50% of Earth's crust) which helps overcome this limitation. This site-selective signal termed infrared photoluminescence (IRPL) arises from radiative relaxation of the excited state of the main electron trapping center (principal trap). In this study, IRPL excitation and emission spectroscopy at cryogenic temperatures reveals two distinct electron-trapping centers (i.e. two principal traps) in feldspar, and helps to determine their trap depths and the excited-state energies. The two trapping centers show the same electron capture cross-sections and the excited-state relaxation lifetimes, but different ground-and excited-state energies. Based on this peculiar combination of trap characteristics, we conclude that that the principal traps consist of the same defect residing at two different crystal sites. The differences in the energy levels of the two principal traps explain their distinct optical and thermal bleaching behavior.
Original languageEnglish
Article number465301
JournalJournal of Physics D: Applied Physics
Issue number46
Number of pages15
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Cryogenics
  • Infrared photoluminescence (IRPL)
  • Feldspar
  • Geochronology
  • Luminescence dosimetry
  • Radio-photoluminescence (RPL)


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