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On the Use of Overtone and Combination Bands for the Analysis of the CaSO4H2O System by Mid-Infrared Reflection Spectroscopy

Volume 64, Number 8 (Aug. 2010) Page 956-963

Rosi, Francesca; Daveri, Alessia; Doherty, Brenda; Nazzareni, Sabrina; Brunetti, Brunetto G.; Sgamellotti, Antonio; Miliani, Costanza

With the aim of characterizing ground preparations of paintings by infrared reflection spectroscopy, the CaSO4-H2O system (gypsum/bassanite/anhydrite) has been re-investigated, evaluating and assigning the SO42− and OH overtone and combination bands, respectively, in the ranges 1900-2700 cm−1 and 5000-6000 cm−1 resulting from reflection and high concentration transmission spectra. The second-order modes have been proven to be highly specific, reliable, and less affected by overlap with bands of organic binders and can hence be exploited for the identification of the sulfate hydration phase using infrared (IR) reflection spectroscopy. Subsequently, the characterization and identification of hydration phases in unknown sulfate-based ground preparations on authentic artworks have been carried out noninvasively by fiber-optic reflection IR spectroscopy and on cross-sections by infrared reflection micro-spectroscopy. The spectroscopic data collected both on standards and artworks have been cross-validated by X-ray diffraction.