This is useful for ceramics, as it determines the date of firing, as well as for lava, or even sediments that were exposed to substantial sunlight.

Thermoluminescence was first clearly described in a paper presented to the Royal Society (of Britain) in 1663, by Robert Boyle, who described the effect in a diamond which had been warmed to body temperature.

The possibility of making use of TL stored in a mineral or pottery sample was first proposed by chemist Farrington Daniels in the 1950s. Applications and limitations of thermoluminescence to date quaternary sediments.

Better still, unlike radiocarbon dating, the effect luminescence dating measures increases with time.

As a result, there is no upper date limit set by the sensitivity of the method itself, although other factors may limit the method's feasibility.

An input of energy, such as heat, is required to free these trapped electrons.

The accumulation of trapped electrons, and the gaps left behind in the spaces they vacated, occurs at a measurable rate proportional to the radiation received from a specimen’s immediate environment.

Two standard methods, the “fine-grain technique” and the “quartz inclusion technique”, and a new method, the pre-dose saturation exponential technique in thermoluminescence (TL) dating of ancient pottery and porcelain were reviewed, especially for the measurement of the paleodose and the annual dose.

The two standard methods have been acknowledged in domain of TL dating and are used widely for age determination in archaeology and geology.

This energy is lodged in the imperfect lattices of the mineral's crystals.