Category:Instrumental Analysis

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***This information is intended to be used by members of the cultural heritage community for educational purposes only. It is not designed to substitute for the consultation of someone familiar with both this technique and conservation issues. Please consult with an expert before using any of the equipment or techniques described below.***

  • While some analytical equipment can be safely operated by conservators, other equipment requires trained professionals -- and within the field of cultural heritage, conservation scientists -- to conduct analytical testing.
  • Conservators should be prepared to work with analytical instruments, understand what tests may be appropriately used with artifacts, and know how to evaluate results.

Analytical Techniques & Material Properties[edit | edit source]

Microscopy[edit | edit source]

Radiography[edit | edit source]

Spectroscopy[edit | edit source]

X-ray Spectroscopy[edit | edit source]

Chromatography & Spectrometry[edit | edit source]

  • Matrix Assisted Laser Desorption/Ionization (MALDI)
  • Atmospheric Ionization

Imaging[edit | edit source]

  • Multispectral Imaging
  • 3-Dimensional Imaging
  • Optical coherence tomography (OCT)
  • Scanning x-ray fluorescence (XRF)
  • Visible induced luminescence
  • IR Reflectography
  • See additional imaging techniques here, at the Paintings Specialty Group Page [includes Infrared imaging, ultraviolet imaging, multispectral and hyperspectral imaging, reflectance transformation imaging and 3-D imaging)

Other[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

Instrumental Analytical Technique template[edit | edit source]

29 September 2020 - this template was updated by the Testing and Standards sub-group of the Materials Working Group (MWG). Please use this template to generate Instrumental Analytical Technique entries.


  • Technique:
  • Formal name:
  • Summary description of this technique [prose]
  • Sample image of the data [insert image here]


  • What this techniques measures (compound classes, physical structures, etc)
  • Limitations of this technique (egs: doesn't detect metals, must have certain quantities present, reproducibility, etc)
  • Can/how can this technique be made quantitative?


  • Phases it can be used to examine (gas, liquid, solid)
  • Is this technique non-destructive?
  • How invasive is this technique?
  • Minimum size of sample necessary to use this technique?
  • Time to run one experiment?
  • Sample preparation methods [ed note: feel free to add references like ASTM or ISO methods, including numbers and name]


  • Placeholder to describe or link to run the test - temperature conditions, voltages, wavelengths used, column, etc
  • Variables to consider when running this method


  • Examples of how this technique is used in the field?
  • Risks associated with using this technique?

Budgetary Considerations

  • Approximate cost to purchase equipment for this technique?
  • Annual cost to maintain or run?
  • Sample analysis costs?
  • Time it may take to get results from a contract laboratory?

Case Studies [provide description and links]

Additional Information

  • Complementary Techniques [describe and link]
  • Variations of this technique [describe and link]

References Resources, databases, publications {Authors (year). Title Journal, volume, pages.}

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