Trapped-charge dating methods including luminescence and electron spin resonance dating have high potential as low temperature (<100 °C) thermochronometers. Despite an early proof of concept almost 60 years ago, it is only in the past two decades that thermoluminescence (TL), electron-spin-resonance (ESR), and optically stimulated luminescence (OSL), have begun to gain momentum in geological thermochronometry and thermometry applications. Here we review the physics of trapped-charge dating, the studies that led to its development and its first applications for deriving palaeo-temperatures and/or continuous cooling histories. Analytical protocols, which enable the derivation of sample specific kinetic parameters over laboratory timescales, are also described. The key limitation of trapped-charge thermochronometry is signal saturation, which sets an upper limit of its application to <1 Ma, thus restricting it to rapidly exhuming terrains (> 200 °C Ma− 1), or elevated-temperature underground settings (> 30 °C). Despite this limitation, trapped-charge thermochronometry comprises a diverse suite of versatile methods, and we explore potential future applications and research directions.
- Electron spin resonance (ESR)
- Infra-red stimulated luminescence (IRSL)
- Low-temperature thermochronometry
- Optically stimulated luminescence (OSL)
- Thermoluminescence (TL)
- Trapped-charge dating