A simple Q tip is all it takes to grab a microscopic sample from a work of art for laboratory testing, according to Canadian analytical chemists. They’ve used the approach to sample darkening pigments from an ancient map and from a piece of modern art as proof of principle.
They then used a range of standard spectroscopic techniques to identify components of the pigments. This particular work will provide art conservators with important clues as to how to prevent further degradation of these important cultural objects, but more widely the successful demonstration of cotton bud sampling shows that analysis of artworks needn’t be invasive and destructive.
I interviewed research leader Douglas Goltz of the University of Winnipeg who told me that, “For conservators this approach gives them another tool for identifying pigments…Certainly not every museum or art gallery has immediate access to sophisticated techniques, such as XRF – this approach can be used by anyone. The Q-tip can be carried easily and then stored for later analysis of metals in the lab.”
Read on at SpectroscopyNOW.com