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This project concerns developing digital radiography and computerised tomography (CT) techniques applied to works of art using X-ray and neutron beams. The research focuses primarily on the former, already tried and tested type of radiation (X-ray), which gave optimal results (CT of Kongo Rikishi and Tamon-Ten), but also conducts feasibility studies and tests with tomography and neutron radiography.
With regard to the use of X-rays, the intention is to create three devices to be installed at the Centro’s scientific laboratories:
- a scanner capable of executing digital radiographies on flat surfaces of up to 3 metres x 4 (canvases or wooden panels);
- a highly flexible 3D tomograph for large objects, specifically developed for the kind of problems inherent to works of art, such as the study of the structure of wooden furnishings and sculpture;
- a radiography system to analyse the distribution of chemical elements within the scanned area (the “digital fingerprint” of the work).
Using neutron beam technology, it will be possible to obtain CTs with information complementary to the X-ray CTs, and extend the technique to metallic objects.