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Characterisation of varnished wood surfaces by synchrotron photoluminescence micro-imaging

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J.-P. Echard, M. Thoury, B. H. Berrie, T. Séverin-Fabiani, A. Vichi, M. Didier, M. Réfrégiers, and L. Bertrand. Synchrotron DUV luminescence micro-imaging to identify and map historical organic coatings on wood. Analyst, 140(15):5344–5353, 2015. [article]

New experiments, carried out in the frame of long-term collaboration between the French Music Museum and the DISCO beamline of SOLEIL, allowed the chemical characterization of preparation layers, deposited on 16th to 18th century musical instruments. Their localisation, in a layer thick of a few dozens of microns, and their interaction with the instrument’s wood, were revealed by micro-imaging.

The new approach set up by IPANEMA includes the collection and inter-comparison of imaging and photoluminescence spectroscopy data, in micro-stratigraphic samples. For the first time, deep UV excitation allows scientists to distinguish protein-based preparation layers from oil/resin layers at sub-micro-scale, by exacerbating emission contrasts. The heterogeneity unveiled in these materials gives room to new thoughts on the varnish layers fabrication process, and their alteration through time.

Synchrotron photoluminescence micro-imaging in the deep UV, is one of the methods that were developed and optimised by IPANEMA in order to study ancient materials, including semiconductor artists pigments. This study emphasises the high potential of the new analysis method, which application goes far beyond the ancient material field, and applies to organic materials in Environmental and Life Sciences.

Voir en ligne : Article on Analyst website