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Proceedings Paper

Raman microscopic analysis in museology
Author(s): Robert Withnall; Alan Derbyshire; Sigrun Thiel; Michael J. Hughes
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Paper Abstract

These portrait miniatures on ivory were analyzed by Raman microscopy to determine the identity of tiny, white crystals which occur under, within, or on top of their paint layers. In each case the crystals were identified as magnesium hydrogen phosphate trihydrate, newberyite (MgHPO4.3H2O). Small, white crystals which grow on the inner surface of ivory tusks were also identified as newberyite by means of Raman microscopy. Thus, it is concluded that the tiny, white crystals occurring on the portrait miniatures on ivory almost certainly originate from the ivory substrate. Resonance Raman spectroscopy using 632.8 nm excitations were found to be a sensitive probe for the detection of the blue pigment, indigo, even when it occurs in pigment mixtures on paintings. Raman microscopy was also used in analyze a fragment of opaque red Assyrian glass, dating from around the 9th-8th centuries BC, an opaque red Iron Age glass stud, dating from around the 1st century BC, and three opaque yellow Anglo-Saxon glass beads, dating from the 6th century AD.

Paper Details

Date Published: 29 September 2000
PDF: 15 pages
Proc. SPIE 4098, Optical Devices and Diagnostics in Materials Science, (29 September 2000); doi: 10.1117/12.401632
Show Author Affiliations
Robert Withnall, Univ. of Greenwich (United Kingdom)
Alan Derbyshire, Victoria and Albert Museum (United Kingdom)
Sigrun Thiel, State Academy of Fine Arts (United Kingdom)
Michael J. Hughes, The British Museum (United Kingdom)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 4098:
Optical Devices and Diagnostics in Materials Science
David L. Andrews; David L. Andrews; Toshimitsu Asakura; Suganda Jutamulia; Wiley P. Kirk; Max G. Lagally; Ravindra B. Lal; James D. Trolinger, Editor(s)

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