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Terahertz pulse imaging of stratified architectural materials for cultural heritage studies

Jackson, J. B., Labaune, J., Mourou, G. A., Duling, I. N., Walker, G., Bowen, J. and Menu, M. (2011) Terahertz pulse imaging of stratified architectural materials for cultural heritage studies. In: Pezzati, L. and Salimbeni, R. (eds.) SPIE Proceedings: O3A: Optics for Arts, Architecture, and Archaeology III. SPIE.

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1117/12.888730


Terahertz pulse imaging (TPI) is a novel noncontact, nondestructive technique for the examination of cultural heritage artifacts. It has the advantage of broadband spectral range, time-of-flight depth resolution, and penetration through optically opaque materials. Fiber-coupled, portable, time-domain terahertz systems have enabled this technique to move out of the laboratory and into the field. Much like the rings of a tree, stratified architectural materials give the chronology of their environmental and aesthetic history. This work concentrates on laboratory models of stratified mosaics and fresco paintings, specimens extracted from a neolithic excavation site in Catalhoyuk, Turkey, and specimens measured at the medieval Eglise de Saint Jean-Baptiste in Vif, France. Preparatory spectroscopic studies of various composite materials, including lime, gypsum and clay plasters are presented to enhance the interpretation of results and with the intent to aid future computer simulations of the TPI of stratified architectural material. The breadth of the sample range is a demonstration of the cultural demand and public interest in the life history of buildings. The results are an illustration of the potential role of TPI in providing both a chronological history of buildings and in the visualization of obscured wall paintings and mosaics.

Item Type:Book or Report Section
Divisions:Life Sciences > School of Biological Sciences > Department of Bio-Engineering
ID Code:32236

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