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Neutron Induced Autoradiography and Pixe Analysis

  • W. Stanley Taft (a1), James W. Mayer (a1), Howard C. Aderhold (a1), Matt Keller (a1) and Gia Rizzo (a1)...

Abstract

We have used the TRIGA reactor and the Ion Beam Facility at Cornell to illustrate neutron induced autoradiography and PIXE analysis of known pigments in demonstration paintings made for our undergraduate course, ‘Art, Isotopes and Analysis’. A group of pigments were chosen containing elements with half-lives detectable by the neutron activation process. The pigments (suspended in a binding medium of linseed oil) were first painted on test swatches of acetate and their characteristic x-ray lines measured with a 5 Mev beam of protons directed through a thin Kapton film for external (in air) analysis (PIXE).

Three layers of images, each painted with a different pigment, overlay one another. The painting is then taken to the TRIGA reactor for neutron activation. After activation, the painting is placed in contact with sheets of Polaroid type AR positive transparency film at different times after exposure. The gamma spectra during the sequence are also measured to provide identification of the ‘active’ isotopes during each film exposure.

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References

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1. Cho, B., Baum, J., Revesz, P., Taft, W.S., Mayer, D. and Mayer, J.W., “Ion Beam Analysis of Pigments”, Materials Issues in Art and Archaeology II, edited by Vandiver, P. B., Druzik, J. and Wheeler, G. S. (Materials Research Society, Pittsburgh, 1992), MRS Vol. 185, pp.125132.
2. Sayre, E.V. and Lechtman, H.N., “Neutron Activation Autoradiography of Oil Paintings”, Studies in Conservation, Vol. 13,No. 4, 1968, pp.161185.
3. Ainsworth, Maryan Wynn et al, Art and Autoradiography: Insightsinto the Genesis of Paintings by Rembrandt. Dyck, Van, and Vermeer, , The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 1982.
4. Hobbs, Susan et al, Dewing, Thomas Wilmer--A Look Beneath the Surface, Smithsonian Studies in American Art, Vol. 4, No. 3-4,Summer/Fall 1990.
5. Mayer, Ralph, The Artist's Handbook of Materials and Techniques, Viking Press, New York, 1964.

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Neutron Induced Autoradiography and Pixe Analysis

  • W. Stanley Taft (a1), James W. Mayer (a1), Howard C. Aderhold (a1), Matt Keller (a1) and Gia Rizzo (a1)...

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