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Applied Optics

Applied Optics


  • Vol. 19, Iss. 12 — Jun. 15, 1980
  • pp: 1913–1920

Spectral properties of the Shroud of Turin

S. F. Pellicori  »View Author Affiliations

Applied Optics, Vol. 19, Issue 12, pp. 1913-1920 (1980)

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Spectrophotometric results from the 1978 investigation of the Shroud of Turin are presented. The goals of the investigation were to characterize spectrally the body image in a region extending from the near UV to the near IR, to determine if the blood stains are actually blood, and to recommend storage parameters to prevent further degradation of the image. The bloodstained areas have the spectral characteristics of human hemoglobin. The image shows monotonically increasing (featureless) absorption with decreasing wavelength. The contrast is low: R(550 nm) = 0.85 of that for the background linen. Simulated aging by air baking reproduced the color of the background linen. Simultaneously, an invisible deposit of perspiration plus skin oils became visible and displayed a reflection spectrum closely resembling that of the body image. Lightly scorched areas on the Shroud are also somewhat similar spectrally, suggesting that a similar resultant chemistry is possible for dissimilar causes. A likely cause for the body image is cellulose degradation stimulated locally by natural or applied substances transferred to the Shroud.

© 1980 Optical Society of America

Original Manuscript: January 31, 1980
Published: June 15, 1980

S. F. Pellicori, "Spectral properties of the Shroud of Turin," Appl. Opt. 19, 1913-1920 (1980)

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  1. B. J. Culliton, Science 201, 235 (1978). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  2. I. Wilson, The Shroud of Turin (Doubleday, New York, 1978).
  3. K. Stevenson, Ed., Proceedings, 1977 U.S. Conference of Research on the Shroud of Turin (Holy Shroud Guild, New York, 1977).
  4. D. Devan, D. Lynn, J. Lorre, V. Miller, in preparation.
  5. V. Miller, S. F. Pellicori, “Fluorescence Photography of the Shroud of Turin,” in preparation.
  6. R. Gilbert, M. Gilbert, Appl. Opt. 19, 1930 (1980). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  7. S. F. Pellicori, M. S. Evans, “Photomicrography of the Shroud of Turin,” Archaeology, in press (1980).
  8. J. Accetta, J. S. Baumgart, Appl. Opt. 19, 1921 (1980). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  9. S. F. Pellicori, R. A. Chandos, details available on request.
  10. G. Kortum, Reflectance Spectroscopy (Springer, New York, 1969). [CrossRef]
  11. M. Weissbluth, Hemoglobin: Cooperativity and Electronic Properties (Springer, New York, 1974).
  12. J. H. Heller, A. D. Adler, “Confirmation of Blood on the Shroud of Turin,” Science (1980).
  13. R. N. Rogers, D. Soran, Los Alamos Scientific Laboratories; personal communication.
  14. Later found to have been used by others: G. G. Gray, “Determination and Significance of Activation Energy in Permanence Tests,” in Preservation of Paper and Textiles of Historic and Artistic Value, Advances in Chemistry Series 164 (American Chemical Society, Washington, D.C., 1977).
  15. R. A. Morris, L. A. Schwalbe, J. R. London, “X-Ray Fluorescence Investigation of the Shroud of Turin,” X-Ray Spectrom. in press, Apr. (1980). [CrossRef]
  16. L. A. Schwalbe, Los Alamos Scientific Laboratories; personal communication.
  17. As do blood plasma stains on linen in the laboratory.

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