Electron trapping Energy absorbed from ionizing radiation frees electrons to move through the crystal lattice, where some are trapped at imperfections.
Later heating releases the trapped electrons, producing light whose intensity is proportional to the amount of radiation absorbed.
Measuring the intensity of the luminescence can determine how much time has passed since the last time the object was heated.
The light is proportional to the amount of radiation absorbed since the material was last heated.
Thermoluminescence dating is generally not very accurate.
The accuracy of thermoluminescence dating is only about 15% for a single sample and 7 to 10% for a suite of samples in a single context.
Samples should be placed in a polyethylene bag and sealed with electrical tape.