Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Listening to Ancient Colours

06.09.2010
New technique may help restorers identify decades-old pigments

A team of McGill chemists have discovered that a technique known as photoacoustic infrared spectroscopy could be used to identify the composition of pigments used in art work that is decades or even centuries old. Pigments give artist’s materials colour, and they emit sounds when light is shone on them.

“The chemical composition of pigments is important to know, because it enables museums and restorers to know how the paints will react to sunlight and temperature changes,” explained Dr. Ian Butler, lead researcher and professor at McGill’s Department of Chemistry. Without a full understanding of the chemicals involved in artworks, preservation attempts can sometimes lead to more damage than would occur by just simply leaving the works untreated.

Photoacoustic infrared spectroscopy is based on Alexander Graham Bell’s 1880 discovery that showed solids could emit sounds when exposed to sunlight, infrared radiation or ultraviolet radiation. Advances in mathematics and computers have enabled chemists to apply the phenomenon to various materials, but the Butler’s team is the first to use it to analyze typical inorganic pigments that most artists use.

The researchers have classified 12 historically prominent pigments by the infrared spectra they exhibit – i.e., the range of noises they produce – and they hope the technique will be used to establish a pigment database. “Once such a database has been established, the technique may become routine in the arsenal of art forensic laboratories,” Butler said. The next steps will be to identify partners interested in developing standard practices that would enable this technique to be used with artwork.

The research received funding from the National Science and Engineering Research Council of Canada and was published in the journal Spectrochimica Acta Part A: Molecular and Biomolecular Spectroscopy.

For more information: http://bit.ly/dl0ixZ

Contact:
William Raillant-Clark
Media Relations
McGill University
514-398-2189
william.raillant-clark@mcgill.ca
POUR PUBLICATION IMMÉDIATE
Montréal, le 2 septembre 2010
À l’écoute des couleurs d’autrefois
Une nouvelle technique pourrait aider les restaurateurs
à identifier des pigments datant de nombreuses décennies
Une équipe de chimistes de l’Université McGill a découvert qu’une technique connue sous le nom de spectroscopie photoacoustique infrarouge pouvait servir à déterminer la composition de pigments utilisés il y a des dizaines voire des centaines d’années dans la conception d’œuvres d’art. De fait, les pigments, qui donnent de la couleur aux toiles d’un artiste, émettent des sons lorsqu’ils sont illuminés.

« Connaître la composition chimique des pigments permet aux conservateurs et aux restaurateurs de musées de prévoir la réaction d’une peinture à la lumière du soleil et aux changements de température », explique Ian Butler, chercheur principal et professeur au Département de chimie de l’Université McGill. Lorsqu’on ignore la composition chimique des peintures utilisées dans une toile, les tentatives pour préserver celle-ci peuvent parfois causer plus de dommages qu’il n’en surviendrait avec le temps si aucune intervention n’était pratiquée.

La spectroscopie photoacoustique infrarouge tire son origine d’une découverte faite par Alexandre Graham Bell au cours des années 1880. Selon Bell, les solides émettent des sons lorsqu’ils sont exposés à la lumière du soleil ainsi qu’aux rayons infrarouges et ultraviolets. Au fil du temps, les progrès réalisés en mathématique et en informatique ont permis aux chimistes d’appliquer le principe à divers matériaux, mais l’équipe de monsieur Butler l’a exploité pour la première fois dans le but d’analyser les pigments inorganiques généralement utilisés par la plupart des artistes.

Les chercheurs ont réussi à répertorier le spectre infrarouge, c’est-à-dire le son produit, de 12 pigments auxquels les artistes avaient autrefois largement recours. Ils espèrent que cette technique servira à mettre sur pied une base de pigments. « Une fois cette base établie, la technique pourrait devenir une arme standard de l’arsenal à la disposition des laboratoires judiciaires – section des crimes visant les œuvres d’art », ajoute le professeur Butler. La prochaine étape consistera à recruter des partenaires désireux de participer à la mise au point de processus normalisés permettant d’utiliser couramment la technique sur les œuvres d’art.

Le projet de recherche a été financé par le Conseil de recherches et de sciences en génie du Canada. Le compte rendu des travaux a été publié dans la revue scientifique Spectrochimica Acta Part A: Molecular and Biomolecular Spectroscopy.

Cliquer ici pour en savoir plus. http://bit.ly/dl0ixZ

Personne-ressource
William Raillant-Clark
Relations avec les médias
Université McGill
514 398 2189
william.raillant-clark@mcgill.ca

William Raillant-Clark | Newswise Science News
Further information:
http://www.mcgill.ca

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Discovery of a Key Regulatory Gene in Cardiac Valve Formation
24.05.2017 | Universität Basel

nachricht Carcinogenic soot particles from GDI engines
24.05.2017 | Empa - Eidgenössische Materialprüfungs- und Forschungsanstalt

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: A quantum walk of photons

Physicists from the University of Würzburg are capable of generating identical looking single light particles at the push of a button. Two new studies now demonstrate the potential this method holds.

The quantum computer has fuelled the imagination of scientists for decades: It is based on fundamentally different phenomena than a conventional computer....

Im Focus: Turmoil in sluggish electrons’ existence

An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behaviour of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.

We can refer to electrons in non-conducting materials as ‘sluggish’. Typically, they remain fixed in a location, deep inside an atomic composite. It is hence...

Im Focus: Wafer-thin Magnetic Materials Developed for Future Quantum Technologies

Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.

Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...

Im Focus: World's thinnest hologram paves path to new 3-D world

Nano-hologram paves way for integration of 3-D holography into everyday electronics

An Australian-Chinese research team has created the world's thinnest hologram, paving the way towards the integration of 3D holography into everyday...

Im Focus: Using graphene to create quantum bits

In the race to produce a quantum computer, a number of projects are seeking a way to create quantum bits -- or qubits -- that are stable, meaning they are not much affected by changes in their environment. This normally needs highly nonlinear non-dissipative elements capable of functioning at very low temperatures.

In pursuit of this goal, researchers at EPFL's Laboratory of Photonics and Quantum Measurements LPQM (STI/SB), have investigated a nonlinear graphene-based...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Marine Conservation: IASS Contributes to UN Ocean Conference in New York on 5-9 June

24.05.2017 | Event News

AWK Aachen Machine Tool Colloquium 2017: Internet of Production for Agile Enterprises

23.05.2017 | Event News

Dortmund MST Conference presents Individualized Healthcare Solutions with micro and nanotechnology

22.05.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Physicists discover mechanism behind granular capillary effect

24.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Measured for the first time: Direction of light waves changed by quantum effect

24.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Marine Conservation: IASS Contributes to UN Ocean Conference in New York on 5-9 June

24.05.2017 | Event News

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>