A composite thermoluminescent dosimeter (TLD), composed of four, thin TL elements with a high-speed reader, has been developed by employing an optical-heating method. Each TL element, which is 15 mg/cm2 thick with a 3 mm dia., is prepared by applying Li2B4O7:Cu or CaSO4:Tm to a plastic substrate 14 mg/cm2 thick. Each element can be heated to 350 degree C within 0.8 sec. by IR radiation from a tungsten lamp. The characteristics of this TLD system include the following: (1) the detection limit of the Li2B4O7:Cu is 3 mR and the limit for CaSO4:Tm is 0.1 mR; (2) the energy-dependence curves are similar to the dose-equivalent curve, showing slight under-responses by 15% near 70 KeV for Li2B4O7:Cu and over-responses by 50% at high energies for CaSO4:Tm; (3) despite quick heating, the residual dose is as low as 0.1% of the last exposure signal; (4) responses are very stable for more than 1,000 cycles of repeated exposure readings; (5) no false signal could be detected, even in the cases of sweat or soil contamination; (6) the thin Li2B4O7;Cu element can be used for skin dose monitoring; and (7) the processing time of the automatic reader for the composite dosimeter is 3 hr/500 dosimeters. This TLD system can be applied to personnel dosimetry, gate monitoring and environmental monitoring.