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Raman Spectroscopy in Art and Archaeology-Chapter 5:A New Light on Historical Mysteries

Elsevier B.V.
DOI: 10.1016/b978-0-444-53175-9.00005-2
  • Archaeology
  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Ecology
  • Geography
  • History


Publisher Summary Raman spectroscopic techniques have some special advantages for application in art and archaeological analysis; the provision of spectral data from microscopic specimens typically in the nanogram to picogram range, the ability to examine samples with minimal or no chemical and mechanical pretreatment, the versatility of selection of a range of laser excitation wavelengths to interrogate colored specimens, the acceptance of specimens of a size range from milligram to kilogram, and, because of the low Raman scattering cross-section for water, the accessibility of data from hydrated archaeological specimens all contribute to the unique niche position that is occupied by Raman spectroscopy in this field today. The major advantages of the adoption of Raman spectroscopy for the analysis of artifacts and works of art are twofold: the technique is nondestructive and requires little or no chemical and mechanical pretreatments of the specimen, and the molecular signatures from both the organic and inorganic components are obtained in the same spectrum, hence affording the opportunity for assessing the interactions and relative stabilities to chemical, biological, and environmental changes operating on the specimen. The examination of diverse range of artifacts and specimens using nondestructive laser Raman spectroscopic analysis provides the acquisition of novel historical information about their origins and degradation suffered in a new light. In this chapter, the results of several selected case studies that are undertaken in collaboration with archaeologists, art historians, and conservation scientists is presented to illustrate the use of the analytical data derived from Raman molecular spectroscopic applications.

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