Although imaging techniques have found a few applications in built heritage, the main impact of these diagnostic methods can be found in the technical characterization of heritage objects.
In the course of the previous century, various forms of electromagnetic radiation such as ultraviolet, infrared and X-ray radiation have been intensively used for the study of art objects. In this way, an attempt is made to gain insight into the hidden and often very complex layer structure that is hidden under the visible surface. Thanks to recent technological evolutions, including the arrival of sensitive digital image carriers and the extension of their wavelength range, the efficiency of traditional imaging techniques such as X-ray radiography and Infrared reflectography is increasing. In addition, a completely new technical development has occurred in recent years, namely the introduction of so-called chemical or hyperspectral imaging techniques. Therefore, the course is divided in two parts:
Part A: Conventional Imaging
The course starts with an introduction to imaging techniques that focuses on the conventional methods that are already routinely used in the larger museums and restoration studios in the context of treatments or research projects.
- Ultraviolet Induced Visible Fluorescence Photography
- X-Ray Radiography
- Infrared Photography and Reflectography
Part B: Chemical Imaging
The second part focuses on chemical imaging techniques that have been developed in recent years and in particular MA-XRF scanning. Given their experimental nature and (rapid) development, their use is still largely limited to museums that collaborate directly with university research groups that specialize in these techniques. However, its impact is so great that the first commercial instruments are currently on the market and are currently moving on to restoration practice. Attention is paid to the spectral processing of the collected data.
- Macro X-Ray Fluorescence Scanning (MA-XRF)
- Macro X-Ray Powder Diffraction Scanning (MA-XRDP)
- Hyperspectral imaging