UKF Project: “Study of modern paint materials and their stability using MeV SIMS and other analytical techniques”
Investigation of art and archeological objects using the most advanced characterization techniques is today an essential way to obtain comprehensive information about those objects. Determination of physical characteristics and chemical composition of paint layers, binders and other materials used is important for dating, attribution and proofing authenticity of the art works. Furthermore, this information is needed for understanding how the particular art work will behave through longer time periods and for the selection of appropriate conservation techniques to preserve it from degradation. Whereas a huge amount of research is continuously focused on investigations of art objects from earlier centuries, some researchers have moved recently their interest toward studying of art works from the second half of 20th century. During that period, industrial development has caused appearance of many new materials, especially synthetic polymers, which started to be extensively used by artists as binding media. Since behavior of such materials in contact with others, as well as their degradation under the influence of different environmental conditions is not well understood, it is important to study them by using different chemical and physical characterization methods. To get better insight into the behavior of those materials and their degradation during longer time periods, artificial ageing using (UV)light and corrosion gases will be applied. Samples prepared and treated by artificial ageing will be studied by conventional techniques at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna and accelerator based analytical techniques at the Ruđer Bošković Institute in Zagreb. Among techniques already in use for the analysis of such materials, we propose here application of one novel technique, namely Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometry using MeV ion excitation (MeV SIMS). Since MeV SIMS is a completely new ion beam analysis technique, used presently (apart from RBI) in only two ion beam laboratories in the world, this project will support the first systematic study of MeV SIMS for analysis of materials used in modern art works. Potential of MeV SIMS for imaging of molecules with submicron lateral resolution will be explored. It has to be stressed that MeV SIMS imaging will be done in combination with other nuclear analytical techniques and in particular Particle Induced x-Ray Emission (PIXE) and Rutherford Backscattering (RBS). These techniques give complementary information (elemental composition) about the samples being investigated. MeV SIMS results will be critically evaluated and compared with different chemical and physical methods that are available for analysis of materials used in art works in Vienna.