We prepare the sample through treating it with acids to remove any calcium carbonate or organic material, and sieve it to get a specific grain size (usually between 0.018 – 0.025 mm diameter), which we then measure in a specialised instrument.
Our standard cost for OSL dating is £550 VAT per sample but prices can vary depending on the nature and number of samples (see our schedule of charges).
Fieldwork (within Southern England) including in-situ radioactivity measurements, sample collection and travel to and from site can be undertaken at a daily rate of £300 VAT.
We are also able to conduct sample collection outside of the UK if the client is willing to cover additional transport, accommodation and subsistence costs.
Postgraduate students registered for a degree course within a UK university which does not house a luminescence laboratory may be eligible to apply for an award through a joint scheme set up with the Quaternary Research Association (
OSL dating results including Dose equivalent (De) estimate, dose rate measurement and calculated age will be reported as a short pdf document by email.
More detailed expert reporting according to specific client needs can be undertaken following prior agreement with the laboratory.
The typical range for burnt stone or sediment is from about 100 to 300,000 years.
The error limits on the dates obtained are typically in the range of 5 to 10%.
In the case of OSL sediment dating, suitable material (sand or silt-sized grains of quartz and feldspar) is usually available ubiquitously throughout the site.
The age range for pottery and other ceramics covers the entire period in which these materials have been produced.
This instrument stimulates the luminescence signal of the sand through shining the sample with blue or infrared light-emitting-didoes (LEDs), which give the electrons enough energy to escape their traps and recombine elsewhere, emitting a photon of light.