Laboratory Netherlands Centre for Luminescence dating

Short description:

Laboratory Netherlands Centre for Luminescence dating
Datering van sedimenten in de donkere kamer. Onderzoek van Jakob Wallinga zoom

Major research issues/sites:

Luminescence dating determines the last exposure to light or heat of natural minerals, mainly quartz and feldspar. Thereby the method can be used to determine the time of deposition and burial of sediments, or the time of baking of ceramic artefacts (pottery, brick). The method has a wide age range, covering the period from a few years to half a million years. Luminescence dating is ideally suited for aeolian and coastal deposits, but is increasingly and successfully used for a wide range of other depositional environments (e.g. fluvial, colluvial, anthropogenic).

Short technical description:

Darkroom laboratory for sample preparation:

We prepare purified quartz and feldspar grains for luminescence measurements. All sample handling needs to be carried out in safelight conditions, as light exposure will harm the luminescence signals. Equipment in this laboartory includes:

  • Sieves
  • Fumecupboards

Darkroom laboratory for luminescence measurements:

After preparation, grains of quartz or feldspar are mounted on small stainless steel discs and measured in dedicated equipment, which encorporates a radiative source, light stimulation, and light detection (PM-tube). In this laboratory we have:

  • 4 conventional Risoe TL/OSL readers
  • 1 single grain Risoe OSL reader

Additional equipment:

  • Honle SOL2 solar simulator; for controlled light exposure of samples.
  • Canberra Broad-range gamma-spectrometer; to determine radionuclide concentrations in soils and sediments.

Specific features/uniqueness:

We are highly experienced in luminescence dating of sediments from a wide range of depositional environments. We have a special interest in dating young material, deposited during the last 1000 years.

Options and conditions for visiting scientists:

Available for joint projects when costs for analysis are covered.

Unit Cost of use and principles of costing:

The prize for full luminescence dating analysis, including sample preparation, measurement, analysis and report is 1000 € per sample (excl. VAT).

centre running the infrastructure:

WENR - Wageningen Environmental Research

type of facility:

Laboratory / high-end instrument


  • WENR - Wageningen Environmental Research

Prof.Dr. Jacob Wallinga