A measurement technique, pulsed thermoluminescence, is described which uses short thermal pulses to excite trapped carriers leading to radiative recombination. The pulses are obtained using microstructures with approximately 500 micros thermal time constants. The technique has many of the advantages of pulsed optically stimulated luminescence without the need for optical sources and filters to isolate the luminescent signal. Charge carrier traps in alpha-Al(2)O(3):C particles on microheaters were filled using 205 nm light. Temperature pulses of 10 and 50 ms were applied to the heaters and compared with a standard thermoluminescence curve taken at a ramp rate of 5 K s(-1). This produced curves of intensity verses temperature similar to standard thermoluminescence except shifted to higher temperatures. The luminescence of single particles was read multiple times with negligible loss of population. The lower limit of the duration of useful pulses appears to be limited by particle size and thermal contact between the particle and heater.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This work was supported by the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (HDTRA1-07-1-0016). Some of this work was performed at facilities in the NSF NNIN program.