29133 - Spectroscopy And Cultural Heritage (2nd cycle)

Course Unit Page

Academic Year 2011/2012

Learning outcomes

After completing this unit, the student should be able to sketch a plan for the analysis of a Cultural Heritage sample, he should be familiar with the sample preparation . The student should also know the modern spectroscopic techniques and be able to interpret the spectra obtained from the analysis of the samples.

Course contents

The aim of the course is (i) to provide the general theoretical basis needed  for a proper understanding of spectroscopical phenomena and (ii) to discuss various spectroscopic technique important for the study of Cultural Heritage materials, introducing methodologies, range of applications and examples. The course is organized in two  modules that will be taught by Prof. F. Tamassia (A) Prof. C. Zannoni (B). The course will cover the following topics:


-Theoretical background for the comprehension of spectroscopic experiments: Interaction radiation-matter. Harmonic oscillator as a quantum model. Molecular vibrations. Lasers.

-Infrared and Raman spectroscopy. Fourier transform spectroscopy. Examples of applications to materials in cultural heritage


- Fluorescence spectroscopy. Elements of the technique. Applications of fluorescence mapping to investigate organic depositions on works of art (e.g. paintings)

- Xray techniques. Introduction to Xray sources (including synchrotron radiation).   Powder and surface micro-diffraction (examples of pigment identifications, identification of ceramics or porcelain components).   Extended X-ray Absorption Fine Structure (EXAFS) . XRF. Examples

-Neutron scattering techniques neutron sources and properties. applications

- Spectroscopic investigations of nanoparticle based cultural heritage materials and techniques (e.g. lustre, purple of Cassius).

- Magnetic Resonance Techniques: Introduction to NMR. Portable NMR- MOUSE (mobile universal surface explorer)- applications to  porous materials

-Electron Spin Resonance (ESR). Introduction to the technique. Some relevant applications (e.g. fossile dating)              


Single chapters of several books will be recommended.

A copy of the lecture slides  will be given to the students.

Teaching methods

All subjects are discussed in detail during the lectures. Students are invited to participate with questions and comments. 

Assessment methods

Oral Examination at the end of the course

Teaching tools

Black board and transparencies. Powerpoint slides

Office hours

See the website of Claudio Zannoni

See the website of Filippo Tamassia