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.

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 August 20, 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 August 20, 2014).

Share This




More Matter & Energy News

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Awesome New Camouflage Sheet Was Inspired By Octopus Skin

Awesome New Camouflage Sheet Was Inspired By Octopus Skin

Newsy (Aug. 19, 2014) Scientists have developed a new device that mimics the way octopuses blend in with their surroundings to hide from dangerous predators. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Researcher Testing on-Field Concussion Scanners

Researcher Testing on-Field Concussion Scanners

AP (Aug. 19, 2014) Four Texas high school football programs are trying out an experimental system designed to diagnose concussions on the field. The technology is in response to growing concern over head trauma in America's most watched sport. (Aug. 19) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Green Power Blooms as Japan Unveils 'hydrangea Solar Cell'

Green Power Blooms as Japan Unveils 'hydrangea Solar Cell'

AFP (Aug. 19, 2014) A solar cell that resembles a flower is offering a new take on green energy in Japan, where one scientist is searching for renewables that look good. Duration: 01:29 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Tiny Satellites, Like The One Tossed From ISS, On The Rise

Tiny Satellites, Like The One Tossed From ISS, On The Rise

Newsy (Aug. 18, 2014) The Chasqui I, hand-delivered into orbit by a Russian cosmonaut, is one of hundreds of small satellites set to go up in the next few years. 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:
from the past week

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