Living Reference Work Entry

Encyclopedia of Nanotechnology

pp 1-10

Date: Latest Version

Spectroscopy of Ancient Documents

  • M. MissoriAffiliated withInstitute for Complex Systems, National Research Council Email author 
  • , O. PulciAffiliated withInstitute for Complex Systems, National Research Council
  • , A. Mosca ConteAffiliated withETSF, and Department of Physics, University of Rome Tor Vergata


Optical reflectance spectroscopy of ancient paper; Optical spectroscopy for ancient paper diagnostic


Optical spectroscopy of ancient paper is the study of the interaction between paper and ultraviolet, visible and near infrared radiation. This approach is aimed to nondestructive evaluation of the degradation of ancient artifacts.

Cellulose and Ancient Paper

Cellulose has had a unique role in civilization because it has been widely used for the acquisition, storage, and dissemination of human culture. In fact, one of the main cellulose derivatives is paper, which was invented in China in the second century A.D. and, independently, in Mesoamerica in the seventh century A.D. The technological knowledge of making paper spread, in the Middle Ages, from the Far East to Arab World and Europe. As a result, for centuries, a growing number of books, documents, and artistic drawings have been accumulating in archives, libraries, and museums, all over the world [1].

The preservation ...

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