ASTRA lecture Series: Dr. Thomas Calligaro - Tues Nov 2, 2010
A wide range of scientific methods are currently applied to get a better insight into art works and archaeological artefacts and to improve their conservation and restoration. However, to characterize such precious and sometimes unique artefacts, non-destructive and non-invasive methods are often preferred. Among them, chemical analysis using ion beams produced by accelerators, yielding the composition with excellent performance and total non-destructiveness, constitutes one of the best choices. Introduced in the sixties as an application of nuclear physics to materials science, ion beam analysis (IBA) has been constantly tailored to address art works and archaeology questions. The particle accelerator AGLAE1 of the Centre de recherche et de restauration des musées de France located in the Louvre museum, has contributed to this progress for 20 years. The cornerstone of this development is a versatile external nuclear microprobe which allows the implementation of the full set of IBA techniques (PIXE2, PIGE3, RBS4, NRA5 and ERDA6). It enables rapid assessment of artefacts and more extensive research works in art history, archaeology and conservation science. After an introduction to the basic principles of IBA, a virtual tour of this unique facility will be provided. The benefit of its use will be illustrated through a series of case studies, addressing the identification of the cultural heritage materials, the sourcing of supplies, the understanding of alteration and the indirect dating for authentication. The studied works and periods are diverse, including painted works of the Spanish renaissance, stained glass from Medieval churches, Mesopotamian gemstone-inlayed carvings and a puzzling Pre-Columbian rock crystal skull.
MORE INFO: Dr. Thomas Calligaro on ASTRA