/therr'moh looh'meuh nes"euhns/, n. Physics.
phosphorescence produced by the heating of a substance.

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Emission of light from certain heated substances as a result of previous exposure to high-energy radiation.

The radiation causes displacement of electrons within the crystal lattice of the substance. Upon heating, the trapped electrons return to their normal, lower-energy positions, releasing energy in the process. The longer the substance is exposed to radiation, the greater is the energy released. By measuring the amount of light given off, the duration of exposure to radiation can be determined; thus, thermoluminescence has been used to determine the age of various minerals and archaeological artifacts.

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      emission of light from some minerals and certain other crystalline materials. The light energy released is derived from electron displacements within the crystal lattice of such a substance caused by previous exposure to high-energy radiation. Heating the substance at temperatures of about 450° C (842° F) and higher enables the trapped electrons to return to their normal positions, resulting in the release of energy. The intensity of the emission can be correlated to the length of time that a given substance was exposed to radiation; the longer the time allowed for the radiation to build up an inventory of trapped electrons, the greater the energy released. Because of this feature, thermoluminescence has been exploited as a means of dating various minerals and archaeological artifacts.

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

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