This thematic set contains a series of papers arising from a symposium of the same name at the 15th Annual Goldschmidt Conference, held at the University of Moscow, Idaho, in May of 2005. Although luminescence (the ability of materials to emit light upon excitation with various kinds of energy) is a well-established technique in physics and the material sciences, its present widespread use in the geosciences was stimulated forty years ago by the introduction of the technique of cathodoluminescence (CL) to image the internal structure of minerals (Smith and Stenstrom 1965; Long and Agrell 1965). Many...

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