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20 November, 2020 - 10:20 By Tony Quested

Cambridge technology preserves Russian art

Bleeding edge technology from Cambridge UK terahertz pioneer TeraView is being deployed to preserve Russian art.

The long-established and growing business is collaborating with the Russian Museum’s Technology Research Department in St Petersburg in a project demonstrating the power and capabilities of terahertz imaging in art restoration.

TeraView is the leading supplier of terahertz systems to support a range of applications. Recently, the use of terahertz imaging in art restoration has been demonstrated by different museums and other institutions across the world.

In some paintings and other works of art, terahertz imaging is able to detect the sequence and thickness of the different layers of paint, each of which can be imaged separately, effectively producing a 3D image of the artwork. Terahertz imaging can thus help reveal the artist’s technique, as well as authenticate paintings in some instances where the identity of the artist is in question. 

Terahertz imaging can also inform art conservation and restoration decisions by providing information on cracks, delamination and defects buried below the surface and not visible to the naked eye or readily accessible with other techniques.

The Russian Museum’s Technology Research Department conducts technological and scientific research to assess the condition and integrity of visual and applied artwork with maximum accuracy.

These research findings inform the decision-making regarding the choice of conservation strategies. The head of department, Dr Sergey Sirro, said: “We are excited and encouraged by the results obtained to date as our restorers have selected works from the museum's collection that cannot be studied using traditional methods in order to show the benefits of terahertz imaging.”

Dr Don Arnone, CEO and co-founder of TeraView, added: “It is our privilege to work with Dr Sirro and other collaborators throughout the world who are leading experts on the use of advanced technology in art restoration. 

“TeraView has sought to develop its TeraPulse and Polyscan imaging system as an easy-to-use, accurate, sensitive and portable tool for art restorers, without the need for specialised knowledge of terahertz.”

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