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Study of modern paint materials and their stability using MeV SIMS and other analytical techniques

Project leader at the Academy:
Dubravka Jembrih-Simbürger (Institute for Natural Sciences and Technology in the Arts)

Overall project leader:
Iva Bogdanovic Radovic (Rudjer Boskovic Insitute, Zagreb, Croatia)

Funded by:
Ministry of Science, Education and Sports of Croatia | UKF - Unity Through Knowledge Fund


Ministry of Science, Education and Sports of Croatia | UKF - Unity Through Knowledge Fund
led by Dubravka Jembrih-Simbürger, Institute for Natural Sciences and Technology in the Arts
Duration: 15.10.2013 – 15.10.2015

At the beginning of the last century, industrial development has caused appearance of many new materials, especially synthetic polymers and synthetic organic pigments, which started to be extensively used by artists in self-made paints or commercially available paint tubes. Due to the mostly very small differences in their chemical structure, identification of synthetic organic pigments in modern and contemporary artworks using conventional analytical methods applied in the field of cultural heritage is still a big challenge and in many cases not possible.

Furthermore, behaviour of different synthetic materials in contact with each other, 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 behaviour of those materials and their degradation during longer time periods, artificial aging using (UV)-light and corrosion gases will be applied in this project. Samples prepared and treated by artificial aging 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 ion excitation (MeV SIMS) will be applied. Since MeV SIMS is a completely new ion beam analysis technique, used presently in only several ion beam laboratories in the world, this project will support the first systematic study of MeV SIMS for analysis of modern paints.

Potential of MeV SIMS for identification and imaging of molecules, especially of synthetic organic pigments, acrylics and alkyds used as binders with submicron lateral resolution will be explored. 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). Those techniques give complementary information (elemental composition) about the samples being investigated. In order to evaluate the application of MeV SIMS method in the field of modern and contemporary artworks, complementary measurements will be employed such as Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy - Attenuated Total Reflection (FTIR-ATR), Raman and UV/Vis Spectroscopy, Kelvin Probe, and Pyrolysis-Gas Chromatography Mass Spectrometry (Py-GC/MS) at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna.