Thermoluminescence as a technique for determining the nature and history of small solar system particles

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The thermoluminescence phenomenon has been used for pottery dating and radiation dosimetry for sixty years and for forty years has been applied to the study of meteorites, being successful in quantifying metamorphic histories and providing new insights into terrestrial age and orbits. Here we review some of the fundamental properties of thermoluminescence with particular focus on the study of small extraterrestrial particles. We suggest that natural TL data can be used to identify the burial and release history of cometary particles and that induced TL measurements can provide in-sights into the mineralogy of particles (even when largely amorphous) and the metamorphic history of those particles. We illustrate the use of TL to study small particles by describing recent studies on micrometeorites and 10–100 μm fragments taken from the matrix of a meteorite Semarkona which is type 3.0 ordinary chondrite.

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