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Applicability of Femtosecond Lasers in the Cross-section Sampling of Works of Art

  • Stephanie Spence (a1) (a2), Takaaki Harada (a3), Athanasios Margiolakis (a3), Skylar Deckoff-Jones (a3), Aaron N. Shugar (a2), James F. Hamm (a2), Keshav M. Dani (a3) and Anya R. Dani (a1)...

Abstract

Issues in traditional cross-section sampling of paintings and other cultural artifacts with a scalpel, such as crumbling, delamination and paint compression, can deter conservators from sampling fragile paint layers. Often, such sampling carries the risk of causing further damage from a scalpel, which outweighs the benefits of scientific investigation. Here, we show that femtosecond lasers offer a viable alternative to obtaining cross-sections with minimal damage to the surrounding artwork. A Regenerative Ti:Sapphire amplifier system with a pulse duration of 70 femtoseconds, a few milliwatts of average power and a repetition rate of 1 kHz (1000 pulses/sec) was used for the study. Tests were performed on oil paintings ranging in age from the 19th century to late 20th century. Effective settings were determined to be 2 mW of power at a speed of 10mm/sec using an 800nm laser. Preliminary results suggest femtosecond lasers could be a viable alternative for obtaining paint cross-sections when traditional sampling methods cause unnecessary damage to fragile materials.

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Corresponding author

* Correspondence: anya.dani@oist.jp; Tel.: +81-98-966-1649

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These authors contributed equally to this work.

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References

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1. Khandekar, N.: Preparation of cross-sections from easel paintings. Studies in Conservation 48, 52 (2003).
2. Harada, T., Spence, S., Margiolakis, A., Deckoff-Jones, S., Shugar, A.N., Hamm, J.F., Ploeger, R., Dani, K.M. and Dani, A.R.: Obtaining cross-sections of paint layers in cultural artifacts using femtosecond pulsed lasers. Materials (submitted).
3. Gattass, R.R. and Mazur, E.: Femtosecond laser micromachining in transparent materials. Nature photonics 2, 219 (2008).
4. Madéo, J., Margiolakis, A., Zhao, Z.-Y., Hale, P.J., Man, M.K., Zhao, Q.-Z., Peng, W., Shi, W.-Z. and Dani, K.M.: Ultrafast properties of femtosecond-laser-ablated GaAs and its application to terahertz optoelectronics. Optics letters 40, 3388 (2015).
5. Cooper, M.: Laser cleaning in conservation: an introduction, (Butterworth-Heinemann Oxford) 1998.
6. Oujja, M., Garcia, A., Romero, C., Aldana, J.R.V.d., Moreno, P. and Castillejo, M.: UV Laser Removal of Varnish on Tempera Paints with Nanosecond and Femtosecond Pulse, in Lasers in the Conservation of Artworks IX, edited by Saunders, D., Strlič, M., Korenberg, C., Luxford, N. and Birkhӧlzer, K. (2013), pp. 12.

Keywords

Applicability of Femtosecond Lasers in the Cross-section Sampling of Works of Art

  • Stephanie Spence (a1) (a2), Takaaki Harada (a3), Athanasios Margiolakis (a3), Skylar Deckoff-Jones (a3), Aaron N. Shugar (a2), James F. Hamm (a2), Keshav M. Dani (a3) and Anya R. Dani (a1)...

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