72833 - Advanced Chemical Diagnosis of Heritage Materials

Course Unit Page

Academic Year 2019/2020

Learning outcomes

At the end of the course the student will acquire knowledge concerning the micro-methods suitable for the micro-destructive characterization of both the organic and inorganic components constituting art and archaeological objects of art. In particular the student will be acquainted with the most advanced sample preparation techniques and microchemical methods used for the characterization of micro samples of historical interest.

Course contents

  • Organic and inorganic substances in historical samples
  • Advanced non destructive techniques
  • Cross sections preparation
  • FTIR microscopy: principles and advanced set up
  • Raman microscopy: principles and advanced set up
  • Immuno based methods: principles and advanced set up


Lectures' slides

Reference tests (not compulsory!):

Scientific examination for the investigation of paintings. A handbook for conservator-restorers. D. Pinna. M. Galeotti, R. Mazzeo (Ed). 2009, Centro Di, Firenze

Mills , R. White R. Organic material in museum objects , 2d ed.Oxford , Butterworth Heinemann , 1999

M.Matteini, A.Moles. La chimica del restauro.I materiali dell'arte pittorica, Nardini editore, Firenze 1993, 3° edizione

S. Prati, E. Joseph, G. Sciutto, R. Mazzeo ; New advances in the application of FTIR microscopy and spectroscopy for the characterization of artistic materials. Accounts of Chemical Research 792-801, June 2010, Vol. 43, n.6.

S. Prati, G. Sciutto, E. Catelli, A. Ashashina, R. Mazzeo,; Development of innovative embedding procedures for the analyses of paint cross sections in ATR FITR microscopy, Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry, 2013, 405, 895-905.

S. Prati, F. Rosi, G. Sciutto, P. Oliveri, E. Catelli, C. Miliani, R. Mazzeo, Evaluation of the effect of different paint cross section preparation methods on the performances of Fourier Transformed Infrared Microscopy in Total Reflection mode, Microchemical Journal, 2013, 110, 314-319

Teaching methods

The course will consist of classroom lectures with PowerPoint presentations and video

Assessment methods

The final exam consists of a discussion on the topics covered in class, aimed at the evaluation of the theoretical knowledge acquired during the course, the possession of a specific language and the acquisition of an organic vision of the topics covered in class.
Good or excellent grades can be achieved by students who demonstrate a critical knowledge of the subject, who are able to apply theoretical concepts to practical examples and make use of an appropriate language. Mostly mnemonic knowledge, limited abilities of synthesis and analysis and imprecise language lead to grades ranging from discrete to sufficient. Important gaps, inappropriate language, lack of an overview of the topics covered will inevitably lead to a barely adeguate grade or to a negative evaluation.

Teaching tools

PC, projector

Office hours

See the website of Silvia Prati