Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Shooting A Painting Reveals Its Pigments

Date:
December 22, 2003
Source:
Netherlands Organization For Scientific Research
Summary:
Dutch scientists have developed a new method for studying organic pigments in the paintings of old masters. Firing a laser at microscopic paint samples releases very small quantities of paint, which can be used for a surface analysis. It is even possible to identify a pigment in a layer just one hundredth of a millimetre thick.

Dutch scientists have developed a new method for studying organic pigments in the paintings of old masters. Firing a laser at microscopic paint samples releases very small quantities of paint, which can be used for a surface analysis. It is even possible to identify a pigment in a layer just one hundredth of a millimetre thick. This is a significant advantage in conservation studies of priceless paintings.

Related Articles


Nicolas Wyplosz investigated laser desorption mass spectrometry (LDMS) as an analytical technique for studying organic pigments. The technique can determine the composition of the paint using a sample just ten micrometres thick. A knowledge of this composition is important for a better understanding of the ageing process.

In this technique, laser light is fired at a small cross-sectional area of a paint sample. The laser beam vaporises molecules and atoms from the paint sample surface. These particles are identified by a mass spectrometer. Finally, the composition of the paint layers can be determined from the particles detected. For example, a certain pigment can be obtained from two different plants and Wyplosz managed to determine which plant the pigment came from.

The preparation of the samples was found to be crucial for the success of the analysis technique. The paint samples must be smoothly polished with as little roughness as possible, and Wyplosz developed a new technique for this.

At present the best techniques for studying pigments in paintings are mass spectroscopy and chromatography. The new technique is a valuable addition to these, as the present techniques cannot be used for cross-sectional samples. A typical old master's painting consists of a canvas, a layer of animal glue, a primer, various layers of paint, and finally a layer of varnish. Studying cross-sectional samples is easier because the different layers do not need to be separated prior to analysis. The paint layer is just tens to hundreds of micrometres thick.

This study was part of NWO's MOLART programme. During the programme, fundamental research into the varnish, paint and pigments was carried out in order to understand the molecular aspects of the ageing processes. Wyplosz's doctoral thesis is the eighth in a series of reports which summarise the programme's results.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Netherlands Organization For Scientific Research. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Netherlands Organization For Scientific Research. "Shooting A Painting Reveals Its Pigments." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 22 December 2003. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/12/031222071932.htm>.
Netherlands Organization For Scientific Research. (2003, December 22). Shooting A Painting Reveals Its Pigments. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 28, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/12/031222071932.htm
Netherlands Organization For Scientific Research. "Shooting A Painting Reveals Its Pigments." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/12/031222071932.htm (accessed November 28, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Matter & Energy News

Friday, November 28, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

NASA's First 3-D Printer In Space Creates Its First Object

NASA's First 3-D Printer In Space Creates Its First Object

Newsy (Nov. 26, 2014) The International Space Station is now using a proof-of-concept 3D printer to test additive printing in a weightless, isolated environment. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Bolivian Recycling Initiative Turns Plastic Waste Into School Furniture

Bolivian Recycling Initiative Turns Plastic Waste Into School Furniture

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Nov. 26, 2014) Innovative recycling project in La Paz separates city waste and converts plastic garbage into school furniture made from 'plastiwood'. Tara Cleary reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Blu-Ray Discs Getting Second Run As Solar Panels

Blu-Ray Discs Getting Second Run As Solar Panels

Newsy (Nov. 26, 2014) Researchers at Northwestern University are repurposing Blu-ray movies for better solar panel technology thanks to the discs' internal structures. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Today's Prostheses Are More Capable Than Ever

Today's Prostheses Are More Capable Than Ever

Newsy (Nov. 26, 2014) Advances in prosthetics are making replacement body parts stronger and more lifelike than they’ve ever been. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins