Optical dating, often referred to as optically stimulated luminescence (OSL) dating, has been a significant geochronological tool in Quaternary research for more than 25 years.
The method developed from thermoluminescence (TL) dating, and is based on the fact that natural crystalline minerals, like quartz and feldspar, absorb and retain ionizing energy from the environment in the form of free electrons that have become trapped at structural defect or impurity sites in the crystal lattice.
SCAR offers significant time and cost savings compared to the standard approach for carbon dating and could be useful for a host of other applications such as measuring emissions from fossil fuels or certifying the amount of biogenic content in biofuels.
A new spectroscopic technique offers ultra-sensitive optical detection of radiocarbon dioxide.
Poor estimates of age can lead to erroneous inferences—such as timing of species arrival, range expansions and extinctions—preventing robust hypothesis testing of the causes and consequences of past events.
Therefore, age reliability must be demonstrated before patterns and mechanisms are inferred.
Around the world, only about 100 facilities house this equipment.“Accelerator mass spectroscopy can be used to carbon date bones, wood, fabrics or anything of biological origin, pinpointing its age of up to 50,000 years ago,” said Iacopo Galli, a member of the research team.