Duplicitous thermoluminescence peak associated with a thermal release of electrons and holes from trapping states

R. Chen*, V. Pagonis, J. L. Lawless

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


A thermoluminescence (TL) glow peak may result from a transition of electrons from traps into the conduction band, followed by a recombination with holes trapped in a luminescence center. Another possibility is that holes trapped in a hole trap are thermally released into the valence band and recombine with electrons in an electron recombination center. A series of glow peaks emitted from a given sample may include peaks of both kinds. In some cases, peaks may be identified as being of one kind or the other, say, by using thermally stimulated electron emission (TSEE), which can take place when the free carriers are electrons. In the present work, we demonstrate by the use of simulation that two peaks may result from one electron and one hole trapping states and a single hole recombination center. The first TL peak is observed when thermally stimulated electrons recombine with holes in the center. The TL peak is terminated when the holes in the center are exhausted. At higher temperatures, holes from a hole trap are released into the valence band and then captured by the hole center, thus this center is replenished. More electrons from the electron trap are thermally released now and recombine with the newly arrived holes in centers. A second TL peak may be observed which carries some information concerning the hole trap. It is thus demonstrated that some of the usual methods for distinguishing between electron and hole traps can lead to incorrect conclusions. It is possible for a hole trap, for example, to induce an increase in electron recombination in such a way that it produces a peak that looks nearly identical to TL from an electron trap. This simulation may bring about a new look at TL peaks occurring in materials used in TL dosimetry and dating. A new interpretation may also be given to "Auger" TSEE associated with the thermal release of electrons from the surface of a material, which indirectly results from the thermal release of holes from traps. The performance of some methods for evaluating the activation energies and the significance of the results in the present situation are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)162-166
Number of pages5
JournalRadiation Measurements
Issue number2-6
StatePublished - Feb 2008


  • Duplicitous peak
  • Electrons
  • Holes
  • Thermoluminescence


Dive into the research topics of 'Duplicitous thermoluminescence peak associated with a thermal release of electrons and holes from trapping states'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this