Luminescence Dating Laboratory

The Luminescence Dating Laboratory exists since 2003 and is a key research facility of the ‘Environmental Change’ research group.

The Laboratory

The laboratory is located on the 7th floor of the Roxby building.
It was purpose built and comprises rooms for sample preparation and measurement. The dark-lab design includes:

Luminescence Dating Laboratory

  • subdued yellow (589 nm) and red (660D40 nm) laboratory safe light supported by red and green LED and torch light (lab safe light spectra)
  • constant temperature provided by air conditioning
  • stable power supply to OSL readers provided by independent electric circuits and a UPS (uninterruptible power supply)
  • HF-proof fume cupboard
  • separate installations for pressurised gases
  • low-activity lead shielding of all beta sources

The Equipment

Besides conventional facilities for sample preparation (oven, sieving machine, centrifuge, flatbed shaker etc.), the laboratory equipment comprises:

  • 1 Risø DA-15 automated TL/OSL reader equipped with a 90Y/90Sr-source delivering 0.4‑4 Gy/min, 28 blue LEDs () and 22 IR LEDs delivering 86 mW cm-2 and 135 mW cm-2 respectively at 100% power
  • 1 Risø DA 15B/C automated TL/OSL reader equipped with a 90Y/90Sr-source delivering 0.6‑6 Gy/min, 28 blue LEDs () and 22 IR LEDs delivering 86 mW cm-2 and 135 mW cm-2 respectively at 100% power
  • 1 Littlemore β-irradiator delivering ~7.5 Gy/min
  • Alpha-irradiator equipped with 6 241Am sources delivering ~2.6 Gy/min
  • 1 SOL II sunlight simulator
  • Coaxial n-type HPGe Gamma-Ray Detector with ~ 30% nominal relative efficiency in low-level setting

Key Contacts

Prof Andreas Lang, John Rankin Chair of Geography

Dr Barbara Mauz, University Lecturer in Geochronology, Laboratory Manager, Email Barbara

Mhairi Birchall, Laboratory Technician, Email Mhairi


Our luminescence research follows 4 major topics:

  1. Improving our understanding of luminescence properties of the quartz and feldspar dosimeter and dating procedures:
    Detailed physical characterisation of quartz and feldspars is key to further understand electron pathways in the crystal. Such an understanding ultimately reduces systematic uncertainties associated with the measurement of the OSL signal.
  2. Improving dose rate estimation:
    Estimating the environmental radioactivity per unit time is a prerequisite to solve the age equation of optical dating. Issues are open system behaviour (e.g. variable water content) and internal radioactivity of the dosimeter itself.
  3. Improving and standardising the application of optical dating to fluvial, glacial, lacustrine and coastal sediments:
    Our studies addressing common problems in optical dating: e.g. under water bleaching, under water cosmic dose, immature dosimeter, purification of quartz sample.
  4. Applying luminescence analyses to fluvial, glacial and coastal sedimentary environments


Recent outputs can be found in the Environment Change publications. Alternatively you can find a full list of publications that are relevant to the research facility.