OSL Laboratory

The Quaternary Research Group´s laboratory for optically stimulated luminescence (OSL) was opened in 2005 and is dedicated to the study of Late Pleistocene and Holocene sediments. Since November 2011 Michael Meyer is in charge of our luminescence dating facilities.

OSL dating allows to establish the age of a given sediment sample containing quartz and/or feldspar from estimates of absorbed doses and dose rate. The OSL ’clock’ is reset in just a few seconds when sediments are exposed to sunlight, and tests of known-age samples have shown that accurate OSL ages can be obtained for a wide variety of depositional environments, provided that appropriate OSL signals are measured and rigorous procedural checks are made.

The laboratory consists of preparation facilities and two Risø Readers, one of which is equipped with an attachment for single-grain analysis. For determination of the environmental dose rate one Risø GM25-5 beta counter and two Daybreak 583 alpha counters are available as well as a MicroNOMAD field gamma spectrometer with a two inch NaI detector.

Previous OSL work of our group included among others studies of lacustrine sediments of Marine Isotope Stage 3-5 in the Eastern Alps (PhD of Reinhard Starnberger), loess deposits in the Salzach palaeoglacier forefield (Starnberger et al., JQS 2011) and in northern Italy (together with Mauro Cremaschi and Andrea Zerboni) and megaflood deposits in the Altai region and periglacial sediments in Patagonia (Helena Rodnight).

See short popular-science movie about our OSL lab and research here (link german) (link english).

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