, Volume 399, Issue 9, pp 3109-3116
Date: 16 Oct 2010

Elemental 2D imaging of paintings with a mobile EDXRF system

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Abstract

Imaging techniques are now used commonly and intensively in cultural heritage object analysis. Nowadays, many different techniques in nature as well as many applications exist, where they can be applied. X-ray radiography and infrared reflectography as well as UV photography are some of the most applied techniques. The study of works of art usually requires these techniques to be non-invasive. Furthermore, they are frequently required to perform in situ analysis. A few years ago, our laboratory developed a mobile energy-dispersive X-ray fluorescence and UV–vis–NIR coupled spectrometer, especially designed for fieldwork studies, where all three techniques can be applied strictly at the same site of analysis. Recent developments on a new positioning system have now allowed us to perform 2D elemental mappings with our equipment, which is especially well adapted to painting analysis. The system control is carried out entirely through a laptop computer running a dedicated homemade software. The positioning is achieved by means of a CCD camera embedded in the system and controlled via a Wi-Fi connection through the computer. The data acquisition system, which is made through a homemade multichannel pulse height analyzer, being also managed via the software mentioned above, goes through an Ethernet connection. We will present here the new developments of the system and an example of in situ 2D elemental mapping applied on an anonymous oil painting on wood panel. The discovery of a hidden painting under this oil painting makes it a good choice for a first example of 2D large scan with a mobile instrument.

Figure

Portable X-Ray Fluorescence system developed by the Centre Européen d'Archéométrie for elemental 2D mapping

Published in the special issue Analytical Chemistry for Cultural Heritage with Guest Editors Rocco Mazzeo, Silvia Prati, and Aldo Roda.