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Portable Equipment for Luminescence Lifetime Measurements on Surfaces

Volume 62, Number 12 (Dec. 2008) Page 1395-1399

Romani, A.; Clementi, C.; Miliani, C.; Brunetti, B.G.; Sgamellotti, A.; Favaro, G.

The prototype of a portable instrument, based on the time-correlated single-photon counting method, purposely assembled for in situ measurements of luminescence lifetimes on artwork surfaces, is here presented. Preliminary tests have been carried out using the portable instrument and the results have been compared with those obtained using a bench instrument. In this way we have proven that the prototype provides lifetime measurements with good precision. It is also shown that fluorescence lifetime determinations, coupled with steady-state fluorescence spectra, allow the distinguishing, on laboratory samples, of different red organic lakes having similar fluorescence spectra, achieving new boundaries in the nondestructive diagnosis of artwork materials. The first in situ application of the technique on an original work of art, The Book of Kells, held at Trinity College Library, Dublin, highlighted the diagnostic potential of coupled steady-state and time-resolved luminescence spectroscopy in the identification of organic colorants.