Thermoluminescence dating definition
The intensity of blue, green or infrared light that is created when an object is stimulated is proportional to the number of electrons stored in the mineral's structure and, in turn, those light units are converted to dose units.
As the material is heated, during measurements, thermoluminescence, a weak light signal, is emitted, proportional to the radiation dose absorbed by the material.
To put it simply, certain minerals (quartz, feldspar, and calcite), store energy from the sun at a known rate.
This energy is lodged in the imperfect lattices of the mineral's crystals.
The way you measure energy stored in an object that you expect has been exposed to heat or light in the past is to stimulate that object again and measure the amount of energy released.
The energy released by stimulating the crystals is expressed in light (luminescence).
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The term luminescence refers to the energy emitted as light from minerals such as quartz and feldspar after they've been exposed to an ionizing radiation of some sort.