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Optics Express

Optics Express

  • Editor: C. Martijn de Sterke
  • Vol. 17, Iss. 5 — Mar. 2, 2009
  • pp: 3407–3416

TeraHertz imaging of hidden paint layers on canvas

Aurèle J. L. Adam, Paul C. M. Planken, Sabrina Meloni, and Joris Dik  »View Author Affiliations

Optics Express, Vol. 17, Issue 5, pp. 3407-3416 (2009)

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We show terahertz reflection images of hidden paint layers in a painting on canvas and compare the results with X-ray Radiography and Infrared Reflectography. Our terahertz measurements show strong reflections from both the canvas/paint interface and from the raw umber/lead white interface, indicating sufficient refractive-index contrast. Our results show that X-rays cannot be used to image through the lead white pigment which effectively blocks the X-rays. Although Infrared Reflectography is capable of vaguely observing the hidden paint strokes from the canvas side, we show that only terahertz imaging is capable of providing information on the thickness of the hidden paint layers. Terahertz imaging is thus shown to be a powerful imaging method for art historians, conservators and conservation scientists.

© 2009 Optical Society of America

OCIS Codes
(300.6270) Spectroscopy : Spectroscopy, far infrared
(300.6495) Spectroscopy : Spectroscopy, teraherz
(110.6795) Imaging systems : Terahertz imaging

ToC Category:
Imaging Systems

Original Manuscript: January 7, 2009
Revised Manuscript: February 13, 2009
Manuscript Accepted: February 13, 2009
Published: February 19, 2009

Aurèle J. L. Adam, Paul C. M. Planken, Sabrina Meloni, and Joris Dik, "TeraHertz imaging of hidden paint layers on canvas," Opt. Express 17, 3407-3416 (2009)

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