Application of Synchrotron Infrared Radiation in the Study of Organic Coatings in Cross-Sections

User menu

Publication Type:

Journal Article


Bartoll, Jens; Schade, Ulrich; Hahn, Oliver;


Studies in Conservation, Volume 53, Number 1, p.1-8 (2008)


The characterization of organic materials in samples from historical objects is of special interest in conservation science and art history. In this study, synchrotron-based Fourier transform infrared (SR-FTIR) spectroscopy in reflection mode was used for the analysis of organic materials in multilayered samples mounted in cross-sections. In order to demonstrate the high potential of SR-FTIR in this field, samples of original furniture coatings were chosen as a relevant example. Standard samples were studied as well as cross-sections of samples from historical pieces of furniture from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Layers within the cross-section can be analysed individually using this method with a spatial resolution in the lower micrometre range. The high brightness of the synchrotron source allows for the acquisition of high quality spectra that are useful for the distinction of several classes of organic materials. However, the identification of a specific substance within these classes by FTIR spectroscopy is often difficult or impossible.