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The use of model probes for assessing in depth modifications induced during laser cleaning of modern paintings


The cleaning of over-paint layers is a usual requirement to be met in the conservation of modern paintings. In most cases, acrylics or other related compounds must be removed without affecting the original painting. The elucidation of the extent of any photochemical or structural modification induced to the substrate following laser irradiation is a crucial challenge for the broader implementation of such laser cleaning strategies into the conservation practice. To achieve this, a methodology based on the use of a sensitive photochemical and photomechanical model system is introduced. A probe consisting of a polymeric material (e.g., Paraloid B72) doped with aromatic photo-sensitizers (e.g., POPOP) of known photochemistry and coated with uniform acrylic layer effectively simulates the real case scenario. Following laser irradiation, a variety of spectroscopic techniques including single or multiphoton laser-induced fluorescence and third-harmonic generation are employed for the assessment of any photochemical and structural modification induced in the bulk material. Practical issues related to the laser parameters employed will be presented, and the potential for a more general applicability of this methodology in the laser cleaning of modern paintings will be discussed.

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Correspondence to Alexandros Selimis.

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Vounisiou, P., Selimis, A., Tserevelakis, G.J. et al. The use of model probes for assessing in depth modifications induced during laser cleaning of modern paintings. Appl. Phys. A 100, 647–652 (2010).

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  • Paint Layer
  • Laser Cleaning
  • Acrylic Paint
  • Original Painting