Temperature is a primary factor in
countless physical, chemical and biological processes and reactions; as a
result, about 80% of the global sensor market comprises of devices that monitor
present-day temperatures. Nevertheless, many key questions in both basic
science as well as industrial applications require the ability to reconstruct temperatures
in the deep past – way beyond the historical and/or instrumental records. Recently,
DTU Nutech has pioneered a novel methodology, which enables to measure and
translate a well-defined physical parameter of natural crystals (luminescence) into
corresponding palaeo-temperatures on an unprecedented, thousand-year-long
Having a solid footing in radiation
physics, this new method sees an increasing demand in several derivative
disciplines such as geoscience (e.g. for understanding the evolution of
mountains) and geoengineering (e.g. for geothermal/hydrocarbon prospecting).
In the current project, we seek to
extend the method’s current applicability range (0 - 70 °C) by about fourfold (0
- 300 °C), with the aim of demonstrating a simple technology transfer to geothermics
(research of medium-high enthalpy geothermal resources). The research project
will focus on the characterisation of various luminescence signals in a suite
of borehole samples from the Central European Craton (KTB superdeep borehole),
where the underground temperature has been stable for millions of years. After an
initial physico-chemical separation of the target minerals from the drill cores,
you will measure the minerals’ natural luminescence, and then conduct a series
of experiments to study luminescence response to ionising radiation and heat. Eventually, the
resultant data will be evaluated using a predictive physical model – whose
calibration and improvement will enable its use in environments of unknown
thermal conditions. You will be able to play with the deepest rock sample ever
obtained (originating ~9 km underground), among others!
During the project, you will enjoy a
hands-on experience with a broad array of cutting-edge radiation physics instruments,
including low-level gamma spectrometers, various generations of Risø TL/OSL
readers, (micro) X-ray fluorescence spectrometers, and optionally the CryOgenic
LUminescence Research (COLUR) facility. In addition, you may get involved in
the development of new instruments, e.g. the spatially-resolved infrared
photoluminescence (SR-IRPL) reader. The project is of strong multidisciplinary
nature, and is thus sufficiently flexible to follow your own personal interest(s)
and areas of competence. Primarily, we seek to clarify and improve our
understanding of the basic physical processes occurring inside natural crystals
exposed to radiation and heat with a motivation to develop concrete geological
and geotechnical applications. DTU Nutech has >30 years of research in
developing new instruments to facilitate cutting edge research in ionizing
the environmental processes that affect the build-up and removal of luminescence
in subsurface rocks.
present-day environmental conditions at the KTB borehole (Germany).
the luminescence within representative samples from the KTB borehole (Germany) using
selected veteran/novel radiation measurement techniques.
the quality and reproducibility of results, in light of the various
environmental and radiation factors.
the individual characteristics of luminescence signals, and their overall trend
with depth using the evolving feldspar luminescence model.
in the development of novel equipment (spatially-resolved IRPL reader), and in
the formulation/testing of the feldspar luminescence model.
Supervisor: Mayank Jain
Co-Supervisor: Benny Guralnik
Curious mind; Enjoys handiwork/engineering; Experimentalist mentality (try – fail – try again); Comfortable with math and modelling (MATLAB)