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Pigment Identification by Fiber-Optics Diffuse Reflectance Spectroscopy

Volume 56, Number 10 (Oct. 2002) Page 1329-1336

Dupuis, Guillaume; Elias, Mady; Simonot, Lionel


Fiber-optics reflectance spectroscopy is used to identify pigments in pictorial layers of works of art thanks to a spectra database of dry powdered mineral pigments. Measurements are noninvasive, without any contact, and can be implemented in situ, without moving the work of art under investigation from its conservation place. The experimental device, using the special back-scattering configuration, is briefly presented. The protocol leading to the constitution of the spectra database of dry mineral pigments is described. Unlike other studies, this protocol has been developed to emphasize multiple scattering of light by elementary pigments in comparison with specular reflection on the surface of the sample. In these conditions, the diffuse reflectance spectrum is the label of the mineral pigment. The numerical processing of pigment identification is detailed. Both the influences of the roughness of the studied surface and of a possible varnish layer are taken into account when numerical identification is implemented. Several applications on patrimonial works of art are reported.