Work package 5

Work package: Leader UCL

Work package title: Nanostructured substrates for highly sensitive detection

Month(s): 1-33


The goal of WP5 was to develop nanostructured substrates and sensors for the enhanced detection of diagnostic degradation products from modern and contemporary cultural heritage artefacts and for the identification of components present in very small quantities e.g. faded inks and dyes.
Enhanced detection of molecules produced by the chemical degradation of works of art is crucial for understanding the early stages of rapid and irreversible deterioration processes of artifacts, which is the case for modern and contemporary cultural heritage. In fact, by developing tools for monitoring degradation, WP5 also enabled the identification of the most optimal restoration tools. Examples include the detection and accurate characterization of degradation products of modern painting techniques based on synthetic binders (acrylics, vinyl, alkyds) and of the volatile organic compounds (VOC) emitted from plastics and other contemporary art materials (including rapid prototyping materials) either during storage or exposition.
Dyes in artworks and paintings (including masterpieces such as Picasso or Gaugin artworks) can undergo fading due to several degradation paths so that their detection with conventional techniques is hindered. The fine characterization of the fading dyes underpins the development of de-activators of degradation processes.
Finally, sensitive detection systems enabled an understanding of the effects of detrimental past restorations, which was one of the starting points for the development of novel restoration materials as highlighted in the call topic description.
Therefore, WP5 was transversal as it cut across the four conservation challenges addressed by WPs 2-4.


Task 5.1 - SERS-active substrates for the detection of art materials and degradation products
Task 5.2 - Carbon and metal (nano-structured) material-based electrochemical sensors for the detection of selected volatile degradation products from plastic artefacts.
Task 5.3 – Assessment and validation of the new tools for diagnostics


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