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Proceedings Paper

Optical coherence tomography: a non-invasive technique applied to conservation of paintings
Author(s): Haida Liang; Marta Gomez Cid; Radu Cucu; George Dobre; Boris Kudimov; Justin Pedro; David Saunders; John Cupitt; Adrian Podoleanu
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Paper Abstract

It is current practice to take tiny samples from a painting to mount and examine in cross-section under a microscope. However, since conservation practice and ethics limit sampling to a minimum and to areas along cracks and edges of paintings, which are often unrepresentative of the whole painting, results from such analyses cannot be taken as representative of a painting as a whole. Recently in a preliminary study, we have demonstrated that near-infrared Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) can be used directly on paintings to examine the cross-section of paint and varnish layers without contact and the need to take samples. OCT is an optical interferometric technique developed for in vivo imaging of the eye and biological tissues; it is essentially a scanning Michelson's interferometer with a "broad-band" source that has the spatial coherence of a laser. The low temporal coherence and high spatial concentration of the source are the keys to high depth resolution and high sensitivity 3D imaging. The technique is non-invasive and non-contact with a typical working distance of 2 cm. This non-invasive technique enables cross-sections to be examined anywhere on a painting. In this paper, we will report new results on applying near-infrared en-face OCT to paintings conservation and extend the application to the examination of underdrawings, drying processes, and quantitative measurements of optical properties of paint and varnish layers.

Paper Details

Date Published: 12 August 2005
PDF: 9 pages
Proc. SPIE 5857, Optical Methods for Arts and Archaeology, 58570W (12 August 2005); doi: 10.1117/12.612591
Show Author Affiliations
Haida Liang, Nottingham Trent University (United Kingdom)
Marta Gomez Cid, Univ. of Kent (United Kingdom)
Univ. de Vigo (Spain)
Radu Cucu, Univ. of Kent (United Kingdom)
George Dobre, Univ. of Kent (United Kingdom)
Boris Kudimov, Univ. of Kent (United Kingdom)
Justin Pedro, Ophthalmic Technologies Inc. (Canada)
David Saunders, The National Gallery (United Kingdom)
John Cupitt, The National Gallery (United Kingdom)
Adrian Podoleanu, Univ. of Kent (United Kingdom)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 5857:
Optical Methods for Arts and Archaeology
Renzo Salimbeni; Luca Pezzati, Editor(s)

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