The laboratory is set up in dark rooms with extremely subdued orange illumination.
These include archaeological sediments from USA and South Africa, relict cold-climate desert sands from Arctic Canada, dune sands from Zambia, Zimbabwe, The Netherlands and UK and lake sediments from Mexico.After being exposed to radiation these minerals, when stimulated by either heat or light, emit light. The amount of luminescence emitted is proportional to accumulated dose since the minerals were last exposed to heat, e.g. This when combined with measurement of the present-day annual ionizing dose rate can be used to calculate an age.In some cases, where equipment is available elsewhere, such as radiation sources, it may be possible to begin dating with only the TL reader, software, computer, and atmosphere control (vacuum pump and purge gas supply).Sediments everywhere contain low concentrations of uranium, thorium and potassium which produce, over geological time periods, a constant flux of ionising radiation.Both quartz and many feldspar minerals act as dosimeters recording their exposure to this ionizing radiation. With careful measurements luminescence can be used to establish the total amount of accumulated dose since the last resetting event.While a simple 386SX system (if you can still find one!The University of Washington Luminescence Dating Laboratory has been involved in luminescence dating research since the mid-1980s. In 2004-2005 the facilities underwent major refurbishment with the building and equipping of new expanded laboratory space.The facility specialises in the measurement of quartz and feldspar-rich sands from sedimentary sequences although other work is undertaken.Quartz and feldspar rich sandy sediments, which are otherwise undateable by conventional radiocarbon methods, can be absolutely dated within a range of 10 to 300,000 years using Luminescence dating.The luminescence facility has a suite of laboratories which are fully equipped to isolate and clean the appropriate grain size mineral fractions from samples under controlled darkroom conditions and for measurement both at single aliquot and single grain levels.