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 April 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 April 20, 2014).

Share This



More Matter & Energy News

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Why Did Nike Fire Most Of Its Nike FuelBand Team?

Why Did Nike Fire Most Of Its Nike FuelBand Team?

Newsy (Apr. 19, 2014) Nike fired most of its Digital Sport hardware team, the group behind Nike's FuelBand device. Could Apple or an overcrowded market be behind layoffs? Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Small Reactors Could Be Future of Nuclear Energy

Small Reactors Could Be Future of Nuclear Energy

AP (Apr. 17, 2014) After the Fukushima nuclear disaster, the industry fell under intense scrutiny. Now, small underground nuclear power plants are being considered as the possible future of the nuclear energy. (April 17) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Horseless Carriage Introduced at NY Auto Show

Horseless Carriage Introduced at NY Auto Show

AP (Apr. 17, 2014) An electric car that proponents hope will replace horse-drawn carriages in New York City has also been revealed at the auto show. (Apr. 17) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Honda's New ASIMO Robot, More Human-Like Than Ever

Honda's New ASIMO Robot, More Human-Like Than Ever

AFP (Apr. 17, 2014) It walks and runs, even up and down stairs. It can open a bottle and serve a drink, and politely tries to shake hands with a stranger. Meet the latest ASIMO, Honda's humanoid robot. Duration: 00:54 Video provided by AFP
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