Liquid nitrogen enhancement of partially annealed fission tracks in glass

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THE number density of fission tracks in solids is reduced if the sample is heated before chemical etching, and the effect of annealing must be accounted for before an age date can be assigned to the sample1–3. The extent of the annealing can be observed by a measurement of the reduction in the track parameters (diameter and/or length) and subsequent comparison to unannealed tracks. Correct ages can be obtained by careful calibration studies of track density reduction against track diameter or length reduction at different annealing temperatures and times4,5. For crystalline minerals, however, these correction techniques are not generally valid6. In this study, glass samples were partially annealed and then immersed in liquid nitrogen for various periods and we show that the properties of the glass and/or the track parameters can be altered so as to observe tracks that would normally be erased by annealing.

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