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 Climate Impact Research in Hannover: Small Plants against Large Waves
17.08.2018 | Leibniz Universität Hannover

nachricht First transcription atlas of all wheat genes expands prospects for research and cultivation
17.08.2018 | Leibniz-Institut für Pflanzengenetik und Kulturpflanzenforschung

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Color effects from transparent 3D-printed nanostructures

New design tool automatically creates nanostructure 3D-print templates for user-given colors
Scientists present work at prestigious SIGGRAPH conference

Most of the objects we see are colored by pigments, but using pigments has disadvantages: such colors can fade, industrial pigments are often toxic, and...

Im Focus: Unraveling the nature of 'whistlers' from space in the lab

A new study sheds light on how ultralow frequency radio waves and plasmas interact

Scientists at the University of California, Los Angeles present new research on a curious cosmic phenomenon known as "whistlers" -- very low frequency packets...

Im Focus: New interactive machine learning tool makes car designs more aerodynamic

Scientists develop first tool to use machine learning methods to compute flow around interactively designable 3D objects. Tool will be presented at this year’s prestigious SIGGRAPH conference.

When engineers or designers want to test the aerodynamic properties of the newly designed shape of a car, airplane, or other object, they would normally model...

Im Focus: Robots as 'pump attendants': TU Graz develops robot-controlled rapid charging system for e-vehicles

Researchers from TU Graz and their industry partners have unveiled a world first: the prototype of a robot-controlled, high-speed combined charging system (CCS) for electric vehicles that enables series charging of cars in various parking positions.

Global demand for electric vehicles is forecast to rise sharply: by 2025, the number of new vehicle registrations is expected to reach 25 million per year....

Im Focus: The “TRiC” to folding actin

Proteins must be folded correctly to fulfill their molecular functions in cells. Molecular assistants called chaperones help proteins exploit their inbuilt folding potential and reach the correct three-dimensional structure. Researchers at the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry (MPIB) have demonstrated that actin, the most abundant protein in higher developed cells, does not have the inbuilt potential to fold and instead requires special assistance to fold into its active state. The chaperone TRiC uses a previously undescribed mechanism to perform actin folding. The study was recently published in the journal Cell.

Actin is the most abundant protein in highly developed cells and has diverse functions in processes like cell stabilization, cell division and muscle...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

LaserForum 2018 deals with 3D production of components

17.08.2018 | Event News

Within reach of the Universe

08.08.2018 | Event News

A journey through the history of microscopy – new exhibition opens at the MDC

27.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Smallest transistor worldwide switches current with a single atom in solid electrolyte

17.08.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Robots as Tools and Partners in Rehabilitation

17.08.2018 | Information Technology

Climate Impact Research in Hannover: Small Plants against Large Waves

17.08.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>