Practical issues in laser cleaning of stone and painted artefacts: optimisation procedures and side effects

Abstract

In the last twenty years lasers have acquired an important role in the study and the preservation of Cultural Heritage (CH) objects and Monuments, as they have effectively illuminated a number of complex diagnostic and restoration problems. Their unique properties have enabled their use in a wide range of conservation applications, since they ensure interventions with precise control, material selectivity and immediate feedback.

Surface cleaning, based on laser ablation, is a delicate, critical and irreversible process, which, given the multitude of materials that may be present on a CH object and the often fragile or precarious condition of the original surfaces, is fraught with many potential complications. Therefore it is crucial to choose the best possible laser cleaning methodology for each individual case, which involves optimising the laser parameters according to material properties, as well as the thorough knowledge of the ablation mechanisms involved. In this context the systematic investigation and elucidation of potential damage or side effects occurring upon cleaning is essential, as it delineates the possibilities and limitations of laser ablation and allows the fine-tuning of the operating parameters for a successful cleaning intervention.

This paper is an overview of studies investigating the mechanisms which are responsible for the laser-induced discoloration effects. Emphasis is given on the yellowing coloration observed on stonework upon infrared (IR) ablation of pollution encrustations, while the various theories introduced to approach the different physical and/or chemical processes and mechanisms responsible for such side effects are discussed. In this respect the different laser cleaning methodologies, which are based on the use of laser systems with different pulse durations and wavelength characteristics, introduced in order to rectify or prevent discoloration on stonework are presented. In parallel, the darkening phenomena which occur upon laser irradiation of painted surfaces are also considered. Studies on series of model paints performed in order to understand the sensitivity of pigments to laser irradiation are critically reviewed. In this respect the importance of the optimal wavelength and pulse-duration selection for a safe and controlled laser cleaning intervention is also addressed.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3
Fig. 4
Fig. 5
Fig. 6
Fig. 7
Fig. 8
Fig. 9
Fig. 10
Fig. 11
Fig. 12
Fig. 13
Fig. 14
Fig. 15

References

  1. 1.

    C. Fotakis, D. Anglos, V. Zafiropulos, S. Georgiou, V. Tornari, Lasers in the Preservation of Cultural Heritage; Principles and Applications (Taylor and Francis, New York, 2007)

    Google Scholar 

  2. 2.

    M. Cooper, Laser Cleaning in Conservation: An Introduction (Butterworth-Heinemann, Oxford, 1998)

    Google Scholar 

  3. 3.

    C. Rodríguez-Navarro, K. Elert, E. Sebastián, R.M. Esbert, C.M. Grossi, A. Rojo, F.J. Alonso, M. Montot, J. Ordaz, Rev. Conserv. 4, 65 (2003)

    Google Scholar 

  4. 4.

    P. Pouli, K. Frantzikinaki, E. Papakonstantinou, V. Zafiropulos, C. Fotakis, Springer Proc. Phys. 100, 333 (2005)

    Google Scholar 

  5. 5.

    K. Frantzikinaki, G. Marakis, A. Panou, C. Vasiliadis, E. Papakonstantinou, P. Pouli, Th. Ditsa, V. Zafiropulos, C. Fotakis, Springer Proc. Phys. 116, 97 (2007)

    Google Scholar 

  6. 6.

    C. Weeks, Stud. Conserv. 43, 101 (1998)

    Google Scholar 

  7. 7.

    S. Siano, A. Casciani, A. Giusti, M. Matteini, R. Pini, S. Porcinai, R. Salimbeni, J. Cult. Heritage 4, 123 (2003)

    Google Scholar 

  8. 8.

    M. Oujja, E. Rebollar, M. Castillejo, C. Domingo, C. Cirujano, F. Guerra-Librero, J. Cult. Heritage 6, 321 (2005)

    Google Scholar 

  9. 9.

    S. Siano, R. Salimbeni, Stud. Conserv. 46, 269 (2001)

    Google Scholar 

  10. 10.

    S. Siano, F. Grazzi, V.A. Parfenov, J. Opt. Technol. 75, 419 (2008)

    Google Scholar 

  11. 11.

    K. Melessanaki, C. Stringari, C. Fotakis, D. Anglos, Laser Chem. 2006, Article ID 42709 (2006)

    Google Scholar 

  12. 12.

    D. Honeyborne, Weathering and Decay of Masonry, vol. 1 (Butterworth-Heinemann, London, 1990)

    Google Scholar 

  13. 13.

    G. Amoroso, V. Fassina, Stone Decay and Conservation (Elsevier, Amsterdam, 1983)

    Google Scholar 

  14. 14.

    J. Ashurst, N. Ashurst, Practical Building Conservation, vol. 1 Stone Masonry (Halsted Press, New York, 1988)

    Google Scholar 

  15. 15.

    V. Vergès-Belmin, C. Pichot, G. Orial, Conservation of stone and other materials, in Proceedings of the International RILEM/UNESCO Congress (UNESCO, Paris, 1993)

    Google Scholar 

  16. 16.

    M. Cooper, J. Larson, Conservator 20, 28 (1996)

    Google Scholar 

  17. 17.

    V. Vergès-Belmin, C. Dignard, J. Cult. Heritage 4, 238s (2003)

    Google Scholar 

  18. 18.

    V. Zafiropulos, C. Balas, A. Manousaki, Y. Marakis, P. Maravelaki-Kalaitzaki, K. Melesanaki, P. Pouli, T. Stratoudaki, S. Klein, J. Hildenhagen, K. Dickmann, B.S. Luk’yanchuk, C. Mujat, A. Dogariu, J. Cult. Heritage 4, 249s (2003)

    Google Scholar 

  19. 19.

    Th. Skoulikidis, P. Vassiliou, P. Papakonstantinou, A. Moraitou, V. Zafiropulos, M. Kalaitzaki, P. Spetsidou, V. Perdikatsis, P. Maravelaki, Book of abstracts, in 1st International Conference on Lasers, in the Conservation of Artworks, 4–6 October 1995, Heraklion, Crete, Greece (1995)

    Google Scholar 

  20. 20.

    I. Pallot Frossard, in The Proceedings of the 10th International Congress on Deterioration and Conservation of Stone, ICOMOS (ICOMOS, Stockholm, 2004)

    Google Scholar 

  21. 21.

    S. Klein, F. Ferksanati, J. Hildenhagen, K. Dickmann, H. Uphoff, Y. Marakis, V. Zafiropulos, Appl. Surf. Sci. 171, 242 (2001)

    ADS  Google Scholar 

  22. 22.

    K. Dickmann, S. Klein, V. Zafiropulos, Proc. SPIE 4402, 54 (2001)

    ADS  Google Scholar 

  23. 23.

    G. Marakis, P. Pouli, V. Zafiropulos, P. Maravelaki-Kalaitzaki, J. Cult. Heritage 4, 83s (2003)

    Google Scholar 

  24. 24.

    M. Gaviño, M. Castillejo, V. Vergès-Belmin, W. Nowik, M. Oujja, E. Rebollar, B. Hermosin, C. Saiz-Jimenez, Air Pollution and Cultural Heritage (A.A. Balkema, Lisse, 2004)

    Google Scholar 

  25. 25.

    M. Gracia, M. Gaviño, V. Vergès-Belmin, B. Hermosin, Springer Proc. Phys. 100, 341 (2005)

    Google Scholar 

  26. 26.

    S.S. Potgieter-Vermaak, R.H.M. Godoi, R. Van Grieken, J.H. Potgieter, M. Oujja, M. Castillejo, Spectrochim. Acta A 61, 2460 (2005)

    ADS  Google Scholar 

  27. 27.

    V. Zafiropulos, P. Pouli, V. Kylikoglou, P. Maravelaki-Kalaitzaki, B.S. Luk’yanchuk, A. Dogariu, Springer Proc. Phys. 100, 311 (2005)

    Google Scholar 

  28. 28.

    P. Pouli, V. Zafiropulos, C. Fotakis, in Proceedings of the 10th International Congress on Deterioration and Conservation of Stone, ICOMOS (ICOMOS, Stockholm, 2004)

    Google Scholar 

  29. 29.

    P. Pouli, G. Totou, C. Fotakis, S. Gaspard, M. Oujja, M. Castillejo, C. Domingo, in Proceedings of the International Conference on Heritage, Weathering and Conservation (HWC 2006) (Taylor and Francis, Madrid, 2006)

    Google Scholar 

  30. 30.

    J. Zhang, A.J. Birnbaum, Y.L. Yao, F. Xu, J.R. Lombardi, Appl. Surf. Sci. 253, 3083 (2007)

    ADS  Google Scholar 

  31. 31.

    M. Labouré, V. Vergés-Belmin, Springer Proc. Phys. 116, 115 (2007)

    Google Scholar 

  32. 32.

    P. Pouli, C. Fotakis, B. Hermosin, C. Saiz-Jimenez, C. Domingo, M. Oujja, M. Castillejo, Spectrochim. Acta, Part A, Mol. Biomol. Spectrosc. 71, 932 (2008)

    ADS  Google Scholar 

  33. 33.

    S. Valls del Barrio et al., Eng. Geol. 63, 31 (2002)

    Google Scholar 

  34. 34.

    M. Garcia-Vallès, M. Vendrell-Saz, W.E. Krumbein, C. Urzì, Appl. Geochem. 12, 255 (1997)

    Google Scholar 

  35. 35.

    V. Fassina, in Proceedings of International Symposium “Le Pellicole ad Ossalati: Origine e Significato nella Conservazione delle Opere d’Arte” (Politecnico di Milano, Milano, 1989) p. 5

    Google Scholar 

  36. 36.

    M. Alvarez de Buergo, R. Fort González, Constr. Build. Mater. 17, 83 (2003)

    Google Scholar 

  37. 37.

    M. del Monte, C. Sabbioni, Stud. Conserv. 32, 114 (1987)

    Google Scholar 

  38. 38.

    J. Lazzarini, O. Salvatori, Stud. Conserv. 34, 20 (1989)

    Google Scholar 

  39. 39.

    A. Galanos, Y. Doganis, Stud. Conserv. 48, 3 (2003)

    Google Scholar 

  40. 40.

    C. Saiz-Jimenez, Air Pollution Reviews, vol. 2 (Imperial College Press, London, 2003)

    Google Scholar 

  41. 41.

    S. Siano, F. Fabiani, R. Pini, R. Salimbeni, M. Giamello, G. Sabatini, J. Cult. Heritage 1, S47 (2000)

    Google Scholar 

  42. 42.

    S. Poulsen, M. Cooper, A. Stewart, M. Vest, R. Larsen, D. Poulsen, J. Cult. Heritage 1, S225 (2000)

    Google Scholar 

  43. 43.

    C. Dignard, W. Lai, N. Binnie, G. Young, M. Abraham, S. Scheerer, Springer Proc. Phys. 100, 227 (2005)

    Google Scholar 

  44. 44.

    J. Kolar, M. Strlic, S. Pentzien, W. Kautek, Appl. Phys. A, Mater. Sci. Process. 71, 87 (2000)

    ADS  Google Scholar 

  45. 45.

    J. Kolar, M. Strlic, M. Marincek, Appl. Phys. A, Mater. Sci. Process. 75, 673 (2002)

    ADS  Google Scholar 

  46. 46.

    V. Vergés-Belmin, M. Labouré, O. Rolland, in Proceedings of the 12es journées d’études de la SFIIC, Couleur et Temps, pp. 292–301 (2006)

    Google Scholar 

  47. 47.

    V. Vergés-Belmin, M. Labouré, Springer Proc. Phys. 116, 115 (2007)

    Google Scholar 

  48. 48.

    A. de Cruz, M.L. Wolbarsht, R.A. Palmer, S.E. Pierce, E. Adamkiewicz, Springer Proc. Phys. 100, 113 (2005)

    Google Scholar 

  49. 49.

    A. de Cruz, M.L. Wolbarsht, A. Andreotti, M.P. Colombini, D. Pinna, C.F. Culberson, Stud. Conserv. 54, 268 (2009)

    Google Scholar 

  50. 50.

    S. Siano, A. Giusti, D. Pinna, S. Porcinai, M. Giamello, G. Sabatini, R. Salimbeni, Springer Proc. Phys. 100, 171 (2005)

    Google Scholar 

  51. 51.

    S. Siano, M. Giamello, L. Bartoli, A. Mencaglia, V. Parfenov, R. Salimbeni, Springer Proc. Phys. 116, 87 (2007)

    Google Scholar 

  52. 52.

    S. Siano, F. Margheri, R. Pini, P. Mazzinghi, R. Salimbeni, Appl. Opt. 36, 7073 (1997)

    ADS  Google Scholar 

  53. 53.

    L. Bartoli, P. Pouli, C. Fotakis, S. Siano, R. Salimbeni, Laser Chem. 2006, Article ID 81750 (2006)

    Google Scholar 

  54. 54.

    P. Pouli, A. Selimis, S. Georgiou, C. Fotakis, Acc. Chem. Res. 43, 771 (2010)

    Google Scholar 

  55. 55.

    M. Castillejo, M. Martín, M. Oujja, D. Silva, R. Torres, C. Domingo, J.V. García-Ramos, S. Sánchez-Cortés, Appl. Spectrosc. 55, 992 (2001)

    ADS  Google Scholar 

  56. 56.

    R. Teule, H. Sholten, O.F. Van den Brink, R.M.A. Heeren, V. Zafiropulos, R. Hesterman, M. Castillejo, M. Martín, U. Ullenius, I. Larsson, F. Guerra-Librero, A. Silva, H. Gouveia, M.B. Alburquerque, J. Cult. Heritage 4, S209 (2003)

    Google Scholar 

  57. 57.

    M. Castillejo, M. Martín, M. Oujja, E. Rebollar, C. Domingo, J.V. García-Ramos, S. Sánchez-Cortés, J. Cult. Heritage 4, 243 (2003)

    Google Scholar 

  58. 58.

    M. Castillejo, M. Martín, M. Oujja, J. Santamaría, D. Silva, R. Torres, R. Manousaki, V. Zafiropulos, O.F. Van den Brink, R.M.A. Heeren, R. Teule, A. Silva, J. Cult. Heritage 4, S257 (2003)

    Google Scholar 

  59. 59.

    R.J. Gordon Sobott, T. Heinze, K. Neumeister, J. Hildenhagen, J. Cult. Heritage 4, S276 (2003)

    Google Scholar 

  60. 60.

    R. Bordalo, P.J. Morais, H. Gouveia, C. Young, Laser Chem. 2006, Article ID 90279 (2006)

    Google Scholar 

  61. 61.

    S. Gaspard, M. Oujja, M. Castillejo, P. Moreno, C. Méndez, A. García, C. Domingo, in Lasers in the Conservation of Artworks, ed. by M. Castillejo, P. Moreno, M. Oujja, R. Radvan, J. Ruiz. Proceedings of the LACONA VII (Taylor & Francis Group, CRC Press/Balkema, Rotterdam, 2008), p. 41

    Google Scholar 

  62. 62.

    S. Gaspard, M. Oujja, P. Moreno, C. Méndez, A. García, C. Domingo, M. Castillejo, Appl. Surf. Sci. 255, 2675 (2008)

    ADS  Google Scholar 

  63. 63.

    M. Oujja, P. Pouli, C.N. Domingo, C. Fotakis, M. Castillejo, Appl. Spectrosc. 64, 528 (2010)

    ADS  Google Scholar 

  64. 64.

    G. Bounos, A. Selimis, S. Georgiou, E. Rebollar, M. Castillejo, N. Bityurin, J. Appl. Phys. 100, 114323 (2006)

    ADS  Google Scholar 

  65. 65.

    P. Pouli, D.C. Emmony, J. Cult. Heritage 1, S181–188 (2000)

    Google Scholar 

  66. 66.

    A. Sansonetti, M. Realini, J. Cult. Heritage 1, S189 (2000)

    Google Scholar 

  67. 67.

    A. Athanassiou, A.E. Hill, T. Fourrier, L. Burgio, R.J.H. Clark, J. Cult. Heritage 1, S209 (2000)

    Google Scholar 

  68. 68.

    P. Pouli, D.C. Emmony, C.E. Madden, I. Sutherland, Appl. Surf. Sci. 173, 252 (2001)

    ADS  Google Scholar 

  69. 69.

    V. Zafiropulos, T. Stratoudaki, A. Manousaki, K. Melesanaki, G. Orial, Surf. Eng. 17, 249 (2001)

    Google Scholar 

  70. 70.

    M.I. Cooper, P.S. Fowles, C.C. Tang, Appl. Surf. Sci. 201, 75 (2002)

    ADS  Google Scholar 

  71. 71.

    M. Castillejo, M. Martin, M. Oujja, D. Silva, R. Torres, A. Manousaki, V. Zafiropulos, O.F. Van den Brink, R.M.A. Heeren, R. Teule, A. Silva, H. Gouveia, Anal. Chem. 74, 4662 (2002)

    Google Scholar 

  72. 72.

    B. Luk’yanchuk, V. Zafiropulos, Proc. SPIE 4426, 326 (2002)

    ADS  Google Scholar 

  73. 73.

    M. Chappé, J. Hildenhagen, K. Dickmann, K. Bredol, J. Cult. Heritage 4, S264 (2003)

    Google Scholar 

  74. 74.

    P. Pouli, D.C. Emmony, C.E. Madden, I. Sutherland, J. Cult. Heritage 4, S271 (2003)

    Google Scholar 

  75. 75.

    E. Rebollar, M. Oujja, M. Martín, M. Castillejo, Springer Proc. Phys. 100, 277 (2005)

    Google Scholar 

  76. 76.

    A. Schnell, L. Goretzki, Ch. Kaps, Springer Proc. Phys. 100, 291 (2005)

    Google Scholar 

  77. 77.

    J. Hildenhagen, M. Chappé, K. Dickmann, Springer Proc. Phys. 100, 297 (2005)

    Google Scholar 

  78. 78.

    R. Torres, M. Jadraque, M. Castillejo, M. Martin, Springer Proc. Phys. 100, 285 (2005)

    Google Scholar 

  79. 79.

    R. Bruder, D. L’Hermite, A. Semerok, L. Salmon, V. Detalle, Spectrochim. Acta, Part B, At. Spectrosc. 62, 1590 (2007)

    ADS  Google Scholar 

  80. 80.

    S. Acquaviva, P. Baraldi, E. D’Anna, M.L. De Giorgi, A. Della Patria, L. Giotta, S. Omarini, R. Piccolo, J. Raman Spectrosc. 40, 1664 (2009)

    Google Scholar 

  81. 81.

    L. Shekede, Post-Prints of the Analysis of Pigments and Plasters (United Kingdom Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works, London, 1998)

    Google Scholar 

  82. 82.

    K. Keune, J.J. Boon, Anal. Chem. 77, 4742 (2005)

    Google Scholar 

  83. 83.

    M. Oujja, A. García, C. Romero, P. Moreno, J. Rodríguez Vázquez de Aldana, M. Castillejo, Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys. 13, 4625 (2011)

    Google Scholar 

  84. 84.

    S. Siano, R. Salembeni, Acc. Chem. Res. 43, 739 (2010)

    Google Scholar 

  85. 85.

    E. Rebollar, M. Oujja, S. Gaspard, F. Guerra-Librero, M. Castillejo, Restauro 7, 467 (2006)

    Google Scholar 

  86. 86.

    M. Oujja, M. Sanz, E. Rebollar, S. Kogou, P. Pouli, M. Castillejo, (2011) in preparation

  87. 87.

    A. De Cruz, M.L. Wolbarsht, S.A. Hauger, J. Cult. Heritage 1, S173 (2000)

    Google Scholar 

  88. 88.

    P. Vounisiou, A. Selimis, G.J. Tserevelakis, K. Melessanaki, P. Pouli, G. Filippidis, C. Beltsios, S. Georgiou, C. Fotakis, Appl. Phys. A, Mater. Sci. Process. 100, 647 (2010)

    ADS  Google Scholar 

  89. 89.

    P. Pouli, I.A. Paun, G. Bounos, S. Georgiou, C. Fotakis, Appl. Surf. Sci. 254, 6875 (2008)

    ADS  Google Scholar 

  90. 90.

    E. Rebollar, G. Bounos, M. Oujja, S. Georgiou, M. Castillejo, J. Phys. Chem. B 110, 14215 (2006)

    Google Scholar 

  91. 91.

    R.L. Feller, Artists’ Pigments: A Handbook of Their History & Characteristics, vol. 1 (Oxford University Press, New York, 1986)

    Google Scholar 

  92. 92.

    A. Roy, Artists’ Pigments; A Handbook of Their History & Characteristics, vol. 2 (Oxford University Press, New York, 1993)

    Google Scholar 

  93. 93.

    E.W. Fitzhugh, Artists’ Pigments; A Handbook of Their History & Characteristics, vol. 3 (Oxford University Press, New York, 1997)

    Google Scholar 

  94. 94.

    N. Heaton, Outlines of Paint Technology (Charles Griffin, London, 1928)

    Google Scholar 

  95. 95.

    T.L. Dawson, Color. Technol. 123, 281 (2007)

    Google Scholar 

  96. 96.

    C. McGlinchey, C. Stringari, E. Pratt, M. Abraham, K. Melessanaki, V. Zafiropulos, D. Anglos, P. Pouli, C. Fotakis, Springer Proc. Phys. 100, 209 (2005)

    Google Scholar 

  97. 97.

    C. Stringari, E. Pratt, C. McGlinchey, in IIC Contributions to the Bilbao Congress (2004) p. 165

    Google Scholar 

  98. 98.

    D. Bäuerle, Laser Processing and Chemistry (Springer, Berlin, 2000)

    Google Scholar 

  99. 99.

    T. Lippert, J.T. Dickinson, Chem. Rev. 103, 453 (2003)

    Google Scholar 

  100. 100.

    S. Georgiou, D. Anglos, C. Fotakis, Contemp. Phys. 49, 1 (2008)

    ADS  Google Scholar 

  101. 101.

    M. Lassithiotaki, A. Athanassiou, D. Anglos, S. Georgiou C. Fotakis, Appl. Phys. A 69, 363 (1999)

    ADS  Google Scholar 

  102. 102.

    A. Selimis, P. Vounisiou, G.J. Tserevelakis, K. Melessanaki, P. Pouli, G. Filippidis, C. Beltsios, S. Georgiou, C. Fotakis, Proc. SPIE, 7391, 73910U1 (2009)

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Acknowledgements

The research leading to these results has received funding from the EC’s FP6 “Laserlab-Europe, RII3-CT-2003-506350” and FP7 “LASERLAB-EUROPE, Grant agreement n 228334”. MCINN (Projects CTQ2010-15680 and CONSOLIDER CSD2007-00058) and Programa Geomateriales (CAM, S2009/Mat-1629) are also gratefully acknowledged. The laser cleaning project on the Athens Acropolis Sculptures runs since 2001 and is being funded by the Acropolis Restoration Service (YSMA), the A’Ephorate of Classical and Prehistoric Antiquities (A’EPKA), the Organisation for the Building of the New Acropolis Museum (OANMA) and the Acropolis Museum in a collaborative effort of IESL-FORTH and the Greek Ministry of Culture and Tourism. P.P. would also like to thank I. Doganis and A. Galanos from Lithou Sintirissis Inc. (conservation associates) in Athens, Greece, for providing samples for the irradiation tests and for fruitful discussions on stonework conservation issues. M.O. and M.C. thank the collaboration with ÁRTYCO SL and acknowledge C. Vázquez for providing Fig. 2(b).

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Paraskevi Pouli.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Pouli, P., Oujja, M. & Castillejo, M. Practical issues in laser cleaning of stone and painted artefacts: optimisation procedures and side effects. Appl. Phys. A 106, 447–464 (2012). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00339-011-6696-2

Download citation

Keywords

  • Ablation Threshold
  • Stone Surface
  • Laser Cleaning
  • Lead Chromate
  • Pollution Accumulation