Modular Advanced Laser System and Applications (laser cleaning and imaging)
The goal for Art Innovation within the MALSA project was to maintain and expand its innovative role in this market by performing application research with an aim to improve existing and develop new products for the restoration and conservation market. The main conclusions that could be drawn based on the experimental results obtained are the following.
Wavelength tunable laser for hyperspectral imaging
For applications in art conservation and restoration, hyperspectral imaging is often best realized by using a wavelength tunable, narrow bandwidth light source for illuminating the object while imaging it with a monochrome digital camera. Art Innovation performed experiments at the Laser Physics group at the University of Twente, where a fiber laser developed by that group was used to supplement the conventional tunable light source used for hyperspectral imaging of historic 19th century documents. The outcome of these experiments was that the reflectance spectra of different inks could be compared. Especially from the near-infrared portion of those spectra (800 - 1150 nm) the state of degradation of a paper document caused by certain inks can be determined.
Laser cleaning of paper
Laser cleaning of paper has in the past successfully been demonstrated by Art Innovation using a green (532 nm wavelength) Nd:YAG laser. Using this laser source, a feasibility study on laser cleaning of historic/artistic paper documents was carried out. In a case study, sample documents that featured traces of tape that had originally been stuck on one of the surfaces were treated. The experiments showed that some of the tape traces can in fact be removed, and the color of the surface can be altered to resemble the original color. However, care should be taken that the area is not over exposed to the laser radiation.
Laser cleaning of paintings
A large case study was performed together with the Gugenheim Museum New York to clean the ‘Black Painting’ (1960-66) of Art Reinhardt. This painting has previously been restored in such a poor way that it is considered a total loss. The original layer is completely over painted with an acrylic paint, which destroyed the original appearance of the surface. The objective was to remove these acrylic layers with laser cleaning. The fact that not a small part of the varnish but an entire paint layer was to be removed made this a very challenging task. With the laser cleaning treatment about a 10% of the total area of the painting was cleaned to demonstrate the feasibility of the laser cleaning technology.
• Nederlands Centrum voor Laser Research (NCLR) b.v.
• Leerstoel laserfysica en niet-lineaire optica (LF), University of Twente
• Art Innovation
• Lasercentrum van het Academisch Medisch Centrum (AMC)
• Afdeling Dermatologie van het Academisch Ziekenhuis Maastricht (AZM)
Basic Laser Facts
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