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New Imaging Modality in Cultural Heritage

Scientists at the RCaH, in collaboration with CNR in Italy, have developed a new chemically specific method, micro-Spatially Offset Raman Spectroscopy (micro-SORS) for the non-invasive analysis of thin painted sub-layers in artwork, and applied it to the sub-surface analysis of the chemical constitution of historical mural paintings and sculptures originating from restoration sites in Northern Italy dating back several centuries. This is critically important for effective art restoration and preservation. The new method merges microscopy concepts with a conventional (macro-scale) SORS from the CLF ultrafast laser facilities at RCaH. See: http://www.stfc.ac.uk/3556.aspx.

The Research Complex at Harwell (RCaH) is a new, multidisciplinary laboratory that provides facilities for researchers to undertake new and cutting edge scientific research in both life and physical sciences and the interface between them. It is located on the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory (RAL) site on the Harwell Science and Innovation Campus, adjacent to Diamond, the new third generation Synchrotron Radiation (SR) source. It is also close to other leading facilities on the campus: the ISIS neutron source, Central Laser Facility, Membrane Protein Laboratory, MRC Mammalian Genetics Unit and Mary Lyon Centre, and a Biological Solid State NMR Facility.

It is open, on a competitive basis, to research teams from UK universities, as well as to Diamond and RAL staff. The MRC is leading the project on behalf of RCUK, in partnership with BBSRC, EPSRC, NERC, STFC and Diamond.