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Detective work using terahertz radiation
Date:11/21/2012

cteristic absorption lines, which can be used to identify them clearly. In previous tests, however, the system had reached its limits, for example with behind-the-wall paintings on uneven, very structured walls. For this reason the scientists at IWS continued to develop the detector head by modifying the THz optics together with the Fraunhofer Institute for Physical Measurement Techniques IPM. The application spectrum of the scanner was also expanded.

Caution, contaminated art

Currently, many museums cannot present valuable exhibits to the public because they are contaminated with biocides. The reason for this is that in the 1970s, with the best of intentions, antique textiles or wood sculptures were sprayed with pesticides to keep them from being destroyed. Today it is known that these agents are hazardous to health and a number of different measurement and decontamination processes are being tested. IWS, together with further partners, now wants to set up a project with the aim examining the possibilities and limits of the THz technology for organic biocides. In contrast to the current X-ray fluorescence analysis which works on an element-selective basis, THz scanners recognize substances on the basis of the molecular bonding structure. Organic biocides, in particular, could be differentiated in such a manner," explains Michael Panzner.

To date, such expensive examinations are often only possible in well-equipped laboratories. In the future the tests are to be feasible on-site using a mobile scanner. However, a more research is still required until small, portable devices are available that are suitable for such purposes. Above all, close communication and cooperation with restorers and monument preservationists is required for the continued technological improvement of the THz measurement system. Panzner and his team are also hoping for a lively exchange at the European trade fair for monument preservation, restoration and refurbishm
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Contact: Michael Panzner
Michael.Panzner@iws.fraunhofer.de
49-351-833-913-253
Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft
Source:Eurekalert  

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