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The journal Analytical Chemistry publishes developments from IPANEMA in 3D imaging to better understand ancient metals

par Bénédicte Charbonnel - publié le

The composition of ancient metal objects is generally studied in detail from a sample by methods such as scanning electron microscopy (SEM). A team of scientists from IPANEMA, the SOLEIL synchrotron, the TRACES (Toulouse) and GEMaC (Versailles) laboratories and the Quai Branly and Louvre museums have just shown that 3D X-ray imaging makes it possible to avoid any preparation. The semi-quantitative tomography method, coupled with statistical analysis, allows to differentiate the compounds present in the 3D samples and to confirm a chemical identity by comparing the attenuation parameters. Chemical compounds such as cuprite (Cu2O), a major component of archaeological copper, and atacamite (Cu2(OH)3Cl), a minor compound, have been clearly localized in artifacts from southern Mesopotamia and the Indus Valley (3rd-2nd millennium BC). Even better, the team highlighted the rapid transformation of some compounds as soon as they were exposed to the air during conventional preparations, which could have led to erroneous identification by the usual methods. Published on 4 January 2019 in the main analytical chemistry journal, Analytical Chemistry, this methodology is applicable to most multiphase heterogeneous materials.

Voir en ligne : Synchrotron-based phase mapping in corroded metals : insights from early copper-base artefacts


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