Scientific Results

Revealing Hidden Features in Multilayered Artworks by Means
of an Epi-Illumination Photoacoustic Imaging System

Year: 2021

Authors: Tserevelakis G.J., Chaban A., Klironomou E., Melessanaki K., Striova J., Zacharakis G.

Autors Affiliation: -Institute of Electronic Structure and Laser, Foundation for Research and Technology Hellas,
-National Institute of Optics INO-CNR, 50125 Florence, Italy

Abstract: Photoacoustic imaging is a novel, rapidly expanding technique, which has recently found
several applications in artwork diagnostics, including the uncovering of hidden layers in paintings
and multilayered documents, as well as the thickness measurement of optically turbid paint layers
with high accuracy. However, thus far, all the presented photoacoustic-based imaging technologies
dedicated to such measurements have been strictly limited to thin objects due to the detection of
signals in transmission geometry. Unavoidably, this issue restricts seriously the applicability of the
imaging method, hindering investigations over a wide range of cultural heritage objects with diverse
geometrical and structural features. Here, we present an epi-illumination photoacoustic apparatus
for diagnosis in heritage science, which integrates laser excitation and respective signal detection
on one side, aiming to provide universal information in objects of arbitrary thickness and shape.
To evaluate the capabilities of the developed system, we imaged thickly painted mock-ups, in an
attempt to reveal hidden graphite layers covered by various optically turbid paints, and compared
the measurements with standard near-infrared (NIR) imaging. The obtained results prove that
photoacoustic signals reveal underlying sketches with up to 8 times improved contrast, thus paving
the way for more relevant applications in the field.

Journal/Review: JOURNAL OF IMAGING

Volume: 7      Pages from: 1  to: 11

More Information: The publication selected as cover story for the J.Imaging https://www.mdpi.com/2313-433X/7/9
KeyWords: hotoacoustic; imaging; diagnostics; cultural heritage; artwork; underdrawings
DOI: https://doi.org/10.3390/jimaging7090183

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