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Proceedings Paper • Open Access

Terahertz analysis of stratified wall plaster at buildings of cultural importance across Europe
Author(s): Gillian C. Walker; J. Bianca Jackson; David Giovannacci; John W. Bowen; Bruno Delandes; Julien Labaune; Gerard Mourou; Michel Menu; Vincent Detalle

Paper Abstract

Terahertz (THz) radiation is being developed as a tool for the analysis of cultural heritage, and due to recent advances in technology is now available commercially in systems which can be deployed for field analysis. The radiation is capable of penetrating up to one centimetre of wall plaster and is delivered in ultrafast pulses which are reflected from layers within this region. The technique is non-contact, non-invasive and non-destructive. While sub-surface radar is able to penetrate over a metre of wall plaster, producing details of internal structures, infrared and ultraviolet techniques produce information about the surface layers of wall plaster. THz radiation is able to provide information about the interim region of up to approximately one centimetre into the wall surface. Data from Chartres Cathedral, France, Riga Dome Cathedral, Latvia, and Chartreuse du Val de Bénédiction, France is presented each with different research questions. The presence of sub-surface paint layers was expected from documentary evidence, dating to the 13th Century, at Chartres Cathedral. In contrast, at the Riga Dome Cathedral surface painting had been obscured as recently as 1941 during the Russian occupation of Latvia using white lead-based paint. In the 13th Century, wall paintings at the Chapel of the Frescos, Chartreuse du Val de Benediction in Villeneuve les Avignon were constructed using sinopia under-painting on plaster covering uneven stonework.. This paper compares and contrasts the ability of THz radiation to provide information about sub-surface features in churches and Cathedrals across Europe by analysing depth based profiles gained from the reflected signal.

Paper Details

Date Published: 30 May 2013
PDF: 8 pages
Proc. SPIE 8790, Optics for Arts, Architecture, and Archaeology IV, 87900H (30 May 2013); doi: 10.1117/12.2020596
Show Author Affiliations
Gillian C. Walker, The Univ. of Reading (United Kingdom)
J. Bianca Jackson, Univ. of Rochester (United States)
David Giovannacci, Lab. de Recherche des Monuments Historiques (France)
John W. Bowen, The Univ. of Reading (United Kingdom)
Bruno Delandes, United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (Latvia)
Julien Labaune, Ecole Polytechnique (France)
Gerard Mourou, Ecole Polytechnique (France)
Michel Menu, Ctr. de Recherche et de Restauration des Musées de France (France)
Vincent Detalle, Lab. de Recherche des Monuments Historiques (France)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 8790:
Optics for Arts, Architecture, and Archaeology IV
Luca Pezzati; Piotr Targowski, Editor(s)

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