Silver and copper nanoclusters in the lustre decoration of Italian Renaissance pottery: an EXAFS study
Lustre is one of the most important decorative techniques of the Medieval and Renaissance pottery of the Mediterranean basin, capable of producing brilliant metallic reflections and iridescence. Following the recent finding that the colour of lustre decorations is mainly determined by copper and silver nanoclusters dispersed in the glaze layer, the local environment of copper and silver atoms has been studied by extended X-ray absorption fine structure (EXAFS) spectroscopy on original samples of gold and red lustre. It has been found that, in gold lustre, whose colour is attributed mainly to the silver nanocluster dispersion, silver is only partially present in the metallic form and copper is almost completely oxidised. In the red lustre, whose colour is attributed mainly to the copper nanocluster dispersion, only a fraction of copper is present in the metallic form. EXAFS measurements on red lustre, carried out in the total electron yield mode to probe only the first 150 nm of the glaze layer, indicated that in some cases lustre nanoclusters may be confined in a very thin layer close to the surface.
KeywordsCopper Nanoparticles Waller Factor Total Electron Yield Copper Nanoclusters Gold Lustre
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