Optically stimulated luminescence (OSL) can be used in conventional approaches to determine the depositional ages of sediments for times ranging from a few to several 100,000 years. It is also important for Quaternary and paleoclimate research that ages of sedimentary deposition can be determined beyond the last ice age. This chronological data is essential to gain viable data sets for the investigated times and regions, to be able to reconstruct changes in landscapes and the environment within a reliable chronological context.
Electron spin resonance spectroscopy (ESR) makes it possible amongst other things to investigate the paramagnetic centres in carbonates and quartz grains generated by radioactive radiation or cosmic rays. Analogous to luminescence, the number of captured electrons and the associated ESR signal intensity are proportional to the dose rate and the duration of the irradiation. In addition to carbonates such as cavern sinter and travertine, ESR can also be used to date corals, teeth and sediments (quartzes and feldspars). A new method for the determination of the ESR equivalent dose using single aliquot protocols and X-ray irradiation was developed and further improved.
Gamma spectrometry is primarily used to determine the dose rate for luminescence and ESR dating.