Simulations of thermally transferred OSL signals in quartz: Accuracy and precision of the protocols for equivalent dose evaluation

Vasilis Pagonis, Grzegorz Adamiec, C. Athanassas, Reuven Chen, Atlee Baker, Meredith Larsen, Zachary Thompson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Thermally-transferred optically stimulated luminescence (TT-OSL) signals in sedimentary quartz have been the subject of several recent studies, due to the potential shown by these signals to increase the range of luminescence dating by an order of magnitude. Based on these signals, a single aliquot protocol termed the ReSAR protocol has been developed and tested experimentally. This paper presents extensive numerical simulations of this ReSAR protocol. The purpose of the simulations is to investigate several aspects of the ReSAR protocol which are believed to cause difficulties during application of the protocol. Furthermore, several modified versions of the ReSAR protocol are simulated, and their relative accuracy and precision are compared. The simulations are carried out using a recently published kinetic model for quartz, consisting of 11 energy levels. One hundred random variants of the natural samples were generated by keeping the transition probabilities between energy levels fixed, while allowing simultaneous random variations of the concentrations of the 11 energy levels. The relative intrinsic accuracy and precision of the protocols are simulated by calculating the equivalent dose (ED) within the model, for a given natural burial dose of the sample. The complete sequence of steps undertaken in several versions of the dating protocols is simulated. The relative intrinsic precision of these techniques is estimated by fitting Gaussian probability functions to the resulting simulated distribution of ED values. New simulations are presented for commonly used OSL sensitivity tests, consisting of successive cycles of sample irradiation with the same dose, followed by measurements of the sensitivity corrected L/T signals. We investigate several experimental factors which may be affecting both the intrinsic precision and intrinsic accuracy of the ReSAR protocol. The results of the simulation show that the four different published versions of the ReSAR protocol can reproduce accurately the natural doses in the range 0-400 Gy with approximately the same intrinsic precision and accuracy of ∼1-5%. However, these protocols underestimate doses above 400 Gy; possible sources of this underestimation are investigated. Two possible explanations are suggested for the modeled underestimations, possible thermal instability of the TT-OSL traps, and the presence of thermally unstable medium OSL components in the model.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1431-1443
Number of pages13
JournalNuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research, Section B: Beam Interactions with Materials and Atoms
Issue number12
StatePublished - 15 Jun 2011


  • Accident dosimetry
  • Authenticity testing
  • Equivalent dose estimation
  • Kinetic rate equations
  • Optically stimulated luminescence (OSL)
  • Quartz
  • Retrospective dosimetry
  • SAR technique
  • TT-OSL
  • Thermoluminescence (TL)


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