Luminescence Research Laboratory


The Luminescence Research Laboratory has an extensive range of equipment for luminescence dating and research, backed by a full suite of sample preparation laboratories, and an unmatched capability for measurement of the environmental radioactivity associated with dating samples.

The laboratory is equipped with 3 computer based thermoluminescence (TL) readers developed in-house, including a 24 sample automated system. Two spectrometers have been developed for photostimulated luminescence (PSL) research. The first of these is a scanning excitation spectrometer capable of stimulating luminescence from 300-1200 nm with temperature control from -150°C to 400°C, and multichannel photon counting. The second uses a pulsed dye laser, in conjunction with a 5ns dwell time multiscaled photon counting system, to provide time domain analysis of PSL.

A simple cost effective patented PSL screening instrument has been developed, primarily for the detection of irradiated foods. The system is manufactured in accordance with ISO 9001 and is commercially available from SUERC. Systems have been supplied to a number of UK and European laboratories and are being used in support of labelling requirements.

Additional facilities include low level beta counting, high resolution gamma spectrometry, and the use of NAA, ICPMS and a range of calibrated alpha, beta and gamma sources. Two sample preparation suites have been developed equipped for full mineral separation under safelight conditions. Research spectrometers are also available for PSL excitation spectrometry and time-domain spectrometry.

Irradiation facilities include high precision 90Sr irradiators calibrated relative to the NPL primary air-kerma standards to a precision of 1.5%, and 241Am sources for alpha irradiation. Sample dose rates are determined by in-situ gamma spectrometry, conducted at the time of sampling, coupled with thick source beta counting and high resolution gamma spectrometry in the laboratory, and ICPMS determination of internal uranium and thorium concentrations.