Controlled Restoration using Excimer lasers on ART
Conservators, scientists and engineers collaborated to investigate the viability of the UV laser technique as an additional tool in the practice of painting conservation. In the European Cooperative Research project CREART, a novel laser tool for precisely localised removal of material from an artwork was realised, as shown above.
The results of a systematic effect study show that effects observed in case of direct irradiation of the paint with 248 nm light (worst case scenario), are surface effects. Application of the UV laser light on real artworks with different binding media often did not result in visible alterations of the paint surface, despite of direct contact with the pigment layers.
Application of lasers for conservation of painted artworks is very demanding, due to the high sensitivity of paint layers to light. The utilisation of excimer lasers provides a method to accurately remove layers from paintings untreatable using conventional methods.
In the case studies, the UV laser workstation at Art Innovation provided better control compared to solvent or mechanical cleaning methods. With the laser, a varnish layer can be removed partially, so that the residual varnish acts as a protective layer and no UV light reaches the underlying paint.
The image above shows an example of the use of the laser cleaning technique on a painting, which was badly damaged in a fire. The treatment resulted in the recovery of the village view, revealing the original colours. (Courtesy A.L. Verheij, De Manenstegell, Bathmen NL).
• Art Innovation Oldenzaal, innovative technology for conservation field
• Hesterman Muiden, conservation company
• Eltromat Zevenbergen, industrial supplier
• Janssen Zevenaar, industrial supplier
• Philips Almelo Almelo, industrial manufacturer
• DEP Roden, industrial supplier
• FOM-AMOLF Amsterdam, research & technology transfer
• Bonsoficios Lisboa, conservation company
• ISQ Oeiras, research & material processing
• Ullenius Sunne, conservation company
• Andor Techn. Belfast, industrial supplier
• Lambda Physik Göttingen, laser manufacturer
• Fo.R.T.H. Heraklion, Crete, fundamental and applied research
• CSIC Madrid, fundamental research
Basic Laser Facts
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