Material analysis and material stability

Academy of Fine Arts Vienna

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Short Description

For the determination of material compositions of artworks non-destructive analytical methods are preferred for obvious reasons, which allow material analysis without sampling or modifying the investigated objects. In many cases the use of portable equipment for material analysis, i.e. directly in collections or at archaeological sites is possible. In this way, transport or climate changes for the art and cultural history works can be avoided. For this purpose, portable devices and methods such as X-ray fluorescence analysis (XRF), UV-Vis, Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) and Raman spectroscopy are used in the institute.

If sampling is necessary due to the complexity of an art object and the materials used, further FTIR and Raman laboratory devices are available for analysis. Pyrolysis gas chromatography mass spectrometry (Py-GC/MS) is also used specifically for the precise determination of organic materials such as binders, plastics and additives.

Within the study of material degradation and stability, artificial solar ageing UV light chambers were used.

Contact Person

Univ.-Prof. Dipl.-Biol. Dr. Katja Sterflinger

Research Services

Non-invasive material analysis, i.e. identification of pigments, binders, corrosion products etc. directly in collections or at archaeological sites in order to avoid transport or climate changes for art and cultural history works.

Methods & Expertise for Research Infrastructure

UV/Vis Spectroscopy
- TIDAS MSP400 microscope spectrometer (J&M Analytik AG, Germany)
Optical fiber coupling to Axioplan 2 microscope for reflection and transmission measurement of micro samples (Carl Zeiss Microscopy GmbH, Germany)
Fiber-optic probe for reflection measurements designed and built at the Institute of Science and Technology in Art.
- SpectroEye handheld spectrophotometer for color measurements (X-Rite GmbH, Switzerland)

FTIR Spectroscopy
- ALPHA with transmission and reflection module, µ-ATR (Diamond crystal), DTGS detector (BRUKER Optik GmbH, Germany)
- LUMOS with integrated microscope, works in reflection and ATR (Germanium crystal) mode, MCT detector (BRUKER Optik GmbH, Germany)

Raman Spectroscopy
- Portable Raman, EZRAMAN-L-DUAL wavelength analyzer (Enwave Optronics, USA), equipped with two lasers: 785 nm (350mW) and 532 nm (50mW), fiber optics, integrated microscope with 1.3 Mpixel camera, in-Line LED illumination, Leica objectives, and Peltier cooled CCD detector (-60 °C).
- LabRAM ARAMIS (HORIBA Jobin Yvon GmbH, Germany) coupled with BXFM microscope (Olympus, Japan), three lasers: 633 nm (17 mW), 532 nm(50 mW), 785 nm (80 mW), and CCD detector (1024x256, Peltier cooled -70 °C) in the backscattered configuration.

XRF (X-ray Fluorescence)
- Spectro xSort (Spectro Analytical Systems, Germany): handheld instrument, spot size of the beam = 7 mm, Ag-tube max. voltage 40 kV.
- Elio (XGLab, Italy): a portable instrument specially designed for the analysis of art and archaeological objects, a spot size of the beam: 1 mm, Rh-tube with max. power of 4 W, max. voltage 50 kV.

-GC/MS QP2010 Plus (Shimadzu, Japan) combined with pyrolyzer PY-2010iD (Frontier Lab, Japan)
Small samples (mg) are required for that type of analysis - mainly organic compounds.

Quartz Crystal microbalance - INFICON, detection of mass changes <0.4 ng/cm2

The following devices are available for artificial ageing/weathering of mock-ups:

- UV Light chamber UVACUBE 400_SOL500 (Hönle Group, Germany) for solar simulation.
Glass filters: "H1" (>315 nm) and "H2" (>295 nm)
- UV Light chamber SOL2 500S (Dr. Hönle AG, Germany) for solar simulation with "H2" filter glass: simulation of natural sun light in the range from approx. 295 nm - 3000 nm.

Univ.-Prof. Dipl.-Biol. Dr. Katja Sterflinger
Institut für Naturwissenschaften und Technologie in der Kunst
+43 1 58816 8600
Please contact us (see above).
1) SO2- and NOx- initiated atmospheric degradation of polymeric films: Morphological and chemical changes, influence of relative humidity and inorganic pigments. 2021. L. Pagnin, R. Calvini, R. Wiesinger, M. Schreiner: Microchemical Journal 164 (2021) 106087.

2) Photodegradation Kinetics of Alkyd Paints: The Influence of Varying Amounts of Inorganic Pigments on the Stability of the Synthetic Binder. 2020. L. Pagnin, R. Calvini, R. Wiesinger, J. Weber, M. Schreiner: Front. Mater. 7:600887. doi: 10.3389/fmats.2020.600887

3) Vietnamese Lacquer in Europe – Comprehensive Multi-Analytical Investigations on the Panel Paintings “The Return of the Hunters” of Jean Dunand. 2019. V. Pintus, A. J. Baragona, K. Wieland, M. Schilling, S. Miklin-Kniefacz, C. Haisch, M. Schreiner: Scientific Reports - Nature

4) Azurite in medieval illuminated manuscripts: a reflection-FTIR study concerning the characterization of binding media. 2019. W. Vetter, I. Latini, M. Schreiner: Heritage Science 7 Article number: 21.

5) Pigment and Binder Concentrations in Modern Paint Samples Determined by IR and Raman Spectroscopy. 2018. R. Wiesinger, L. Pagnin, M. Anghelone, L.M. Moretto, E.F. Orsega, M. Schreiner: Angewandte Chemie 57 7401-7407.

6) Spectroscopic methods for the identification and photostability study of red synthetic organic pigments in alkyd and acrylic paints. 2018. Marta Anghelone, Valentin Stoytschew, Dubravka Jembrih-Simbürger, Manfred Schreiner: Microchemical Journal 139 (2018) 155-163.

7) Raman Spectroscopy for the Material Analysis of Medieval Manuscripts. 2018. Cappa, B. Fruehmann, M. Schreiner: Nanotechnologies and Nanomaterials for Diagnostic, Conservation, and Restoration of Cultural Heritage 127–148.
ISBN: 978-0-12-813910-3

8) Multianalytical Approach for the Analysis of the Codices Millenarius Maior and Millenarius Minor in Kremsmuenster Abbey.. 2018. B. Frühmann, F. Cappa, W. Vetter, M. Schreiner: Heritage Science 6:10 and 6:34.