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Luminescence dating at CLL

The CLL carries out luminescence dating within the framework of research projects of the Geomorphology and Geochronology working group (internal projects), within joint projects of the University of Cologne and the ABC-J Geoverbund (collaborative research centers) and - if our capacities allow it - in the course of research collaborations with external research groups or institutions. All analyzes at the CLL are performed within the framework of scientific collaborations. Purely commercial dating is not offered by the CLL. If you are interested in luminescence analyses as part of a joint research project, please contact Dr. Dominik Brill (head of the laboratory, or Prof. Dr. Tony Reimann (working group leader,

1. Luminescence dating of sediments

  • Dating of quartz and feldspar using established measurement and analyses approaches (e.g. BSL, IRSL, post-IR-IRSL).
  • Dating of coarse grain extracts (sand fraction, 100-250 µm) and fine grain extracts (silt fraction, 4-11 µm)
  • Dating of single grains: Standard luminescence dating is based on aliquots of tens to hundreds of grains. Dating single grains of sand can be helpful in dating sediment samples with incomplete bleaching of the luminescence signal. The CLL offers possibilities for single grain dating of quartz (green laser) as well as of feldspar (IR laser)
  • Application of innovative luminescence dating techniques: violet-stimulated luminescence (VSL) dating on quartz and dating using pulsed OSL

2. Luminescence dating of rock surfaces

In addition to the more widespread application of luminescence dating to sediments, dating of rock surfaces can also be carried out at the CLL. A combination of diamond drill bits and precision saws is available for the extraction of depth-dependent sub-samples required for rock surface dating.

3. TL dating of heated materials

While optically stimulated luminescence (OSL) is generally used to date sediments bleached by sunlight, thermoluminescence (TL) dating is preferred for dating heated materials such as burnt bricks or artefacts. The CLL...

4. Dose rate determination

  • Determination of the external dose rate using gamma spectrometry for sample quantities of at least 40 g
  • Determination of the external dose rate for very small sample quantities (approx. 3 g) using combined alpha and beta counting (µDose)
  • In-situ measurement of the external dose rate in the field using a NaI gamma spectrometer