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Proceedings Paper

The application of visible-induced luminescence imaging to the examination of museum objects
Author(s): G. Verri
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Paper Abstract

Visible-induced luminescence imaging in the near infrared range (800-1700 nm) can play a key role in the spatial characterization of certain historical blue pigments (principally Egyptian blue, Han blue and Han purple). All three of these pigments show a very strong infrared emission when excited across the visible range. The setup required for this type of measurement comprises a recording device with some sensitivity to near infrared radiation and an excitation source in the visible range. Inexpensive and widely available excitation radiation sources that can be used for this application include fluorescent lamps and LEDs. While visible LEDs do not usually emit infrared radiation, commercially available fluorescent tubes may emit some stray infrared radiation. Although the presence of such stray infrared radiation may in some cases be considered beneficial, allowing the user easily to locate the presence of the pigments under investigation within the composition of the piece, it can be easily removed using a simple subtraction method. This method, based on the measurement of the reflective properties of the surface under investigation in the emission range of the luminescent pigments, is described. The emission results obtained for Egyptian blue, Han blue and Han purple are compared to those of a set of representative historical and modern blue pigments, including manganese blue, which was the only other pigment found to show detectable luminescence properties. Examples of the application of visible-induced luminescence imaging to archaeological objects of the Antonine period (AD 100-200) in the collections of the British Museum are also presented.

Paper Details

Date Published: 25 June 2009
PDF: 12 pages
Proc. SPIE 7391, O3A: Optics for Arts, Architecture, and Archaeology II, 739105 (25 June 2009); doi: 10.1117/12.827331
Show Author Affiliations
G. Verri, The British Museum (United Kingdom)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 7391:
O3A: Optics for Arts, Architecture, and Archaeology II
Luca Pezzati; Renzo Salimbeni, Editor(s)

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