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Issue 5, 2011
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High energy X-ray powder diffraction for the imaging of (hidden) paintings

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Abstract

Over the past few years a number of innovative imaging techniques have been introduced for the visualization of hidden paint layers in Old Master Paintings. These include X-ray fluorescence scanning, TeraHertz imaging, optical coherence tomography and other acoustics-based forms of visualization. All of these techniques are usually a trade-off between their penetrative capability on the one side and their analytical precision in terms of spatial resolution and material identification on the other. Here, we present the first-time use of High-Energy X-ray Powder Diffraction imaging (HE-XRPD) in the study of hidden layers in paintings. As an imaging tool, it combines high-depth sensitivity with fingerprint identification of most inorganic painting materials. The potential as well as some limitations of this technique are demonstrated using model paintings as well as an authentic 16th century painting.

Graphical abstract: High energy X-ray powder diffraction for the imaging of (hidden) paintings

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Publication details

The article was received on 15 Dec 2010, accepted on 15 Feb 2011 and first published on 16 Mar 2011


Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C0JA00255K
Citation: J. Anal. At. Spectrom., 2011,26, 910-916
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    High energy X-ray powder diffraction for the imaging of (hidden) paintings

    W. De Nolf, J. Dik, G. Van der Snickt, A. Wallert and K. Janssens, J. Anal. At. Spectrom., 2011, 26, 910
    DOI: 10.1039/C0JA00255K

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