The mineral zircon, ZrSiO4, is a candidate material for optical dating because it exhibits luminescence after exposure to natural radioactivity. The kinetic model of zircon thermally stimulated luminescence proposed before has been modified and used to investigate optically Stimulated luminescence (OSL) of zircon. The purpose is to explore what might be expected from zircon during real experiments because experimentally zircon OSL has not been studied systematically. Any luminescence dating method involves, as a necessary step, a laboratory irradiation at dose rates much higher than the dose rate of natural radioactivity. The model of zircon OSL predicts a significant and complicated dose rate and temperature effects. Our simulation results suggest that this problem may be solved by laboratory irradiation at elevated temperature followed by a preheat. Such a combined treatment allows one to reproduce the dose response expected from the naturally irradiated material (after the same preheat treatment). The shape of the theoretically calculated dose response curve reconstructed in this way exhibits a weak sensitivity to variation of laboratory irradiation temperature for ages younger than a few thousand years. This means that zircon OSL can probably be used successfully for dating of young samples.
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