Terahertz for Conservation of Paintings, Manuscripts and Artefacts
Terahertz radiation has the unique ability to non-destructively image physical structure and perform spectroscopic analysis without any contact with valuable and delicate paintings and artefacts
For centuries, artists have applied paint to canvas, parchment, pottery and buildings producing many delicate and valuable works of art. Degradation caused by chemical reaction, sunlight, environment and other factors is a continuing process that conservators wish to slow down, stop or even reverse.
Key to the conservation process is understanding the chemical and physical structure of the work of art, how much deterioration has already taken place and what were the causes. With this knowledge, the process of repair, restoration and care can start.
TeraView’s Terahertz Pulsed Imaging (TPI™) is a non-destructive technique that can image the sub-surface structure of materials such as heritage plastics, film negatives and paint layers on canvas, walls or pottery. Each layer of paint can be identified and thicknesses measured down to the base material; whether that is canvas or ceramic. De-lamination of the layers and causes such as “lead fatty acid inclusions” can be identified non-destructively. De-lamination from the base materials will also be detected and other sub-surface details such as an earlier painting or sketch may also be found.
TeraView’s Terahertz Pulsed Spectroscopy (TPS ™) uses terahertz light to interact with the intermolecular bonds in materials to produce chemically specific Terahertz spectra. The TPS Spectra 3000 can be used to identify the chemical nature of many materials found in works of art, including pigments.
In other areas of conservation, documents or manuscripts can be damaged simply by handling or opening the document in an attempt to see the illumination or text. Because terahertz rays can penetrate through materials it is possible to image text on delicate manuscripts without removing the document cover.