Emerging Approaches in Synchrotron Studies of Materials from Cultural and Natural History Collections
Synchrotrons have provided significant methods and instruments to study ancient materials from cultural and natural heritages. New ways to visualise (surfacic or volumic) morphologies are developed on the basis of elemental, density and refraction contrasts. They now apply to a wide range of materials, from historic artefacts to paleontological specimens. The tunability of synchrotron beams owing to the high flux and high spectral resolution of photon sources is at the origin of the main chemical speciation capabilities of synchrotron-based techniques. Although, until recently, photon-based speciation was mainly applicable to inorganic materials, novel developments based, for instance, on STXM and deep UV photoluminescence bring new opportunities to study speciation in organic and hybrid materials, such as soaps and organometallics, at a submicrometric spatial resolution over large fields of view. Structural methods are also continuously improved and increasingly applied to hierarchically structured materials for which organisation results either from biological or manufacturing processes. High-definition (spectral) imaging appears as the main driving force of the current trend for new synchrotron techniques for research on cultural and natural heritage materials.
KeywordsSynchrotron Palaeontology Cultural heritage Archaeometry Imaging
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