Abstract The defects produced in KBr:Tl + crystals during x-irradiation at 77 K were studied using thermoluminescence (TL), thermally stimulated currents (TSC), and absorption and emission spectra. Three main glow peaks at 165, 193 and 258 K were observed both in the TL and in the TSC curves. A variety of irradiation induced absorption bands were observed in the UV, visible and infrared up to about 2 microns. The 165 K TL peak was found to emit only the 440 nm band assigned to thallium dimers, while the peaks at 193 and 258 K exhibited the UV bands at 310 and 365 nm as well as the 440 nm band. The defects produced during the irradiation were the V k hole center, the Tl° and the Tl + 2 electron centers. Smaller concentrations of Tl 2+ and (Tl +) + 2 centers were also produced. An analysis of the results including measurements on lightly and heavily doped crystals enabled to draw conclusions on the nature of the defects and on the recombination processes involved. A close correlation has been found between the temperatures at which changes in the various absorption bands take place and the temperatures of the TL peaks. The analysis enabled also a full classification of the absorption bands.