Non-invasive identification of metal-oxalate complexes on polychrome artwork surfaces by reflection mid-infrared spectroscopy
Faculty of Sciences. Chemistry
Spectrochimica acta: part A: molecular and biomolecular spectroscopy. - Oxford
, p. 270-280
University of Antwerp
In this work a reflection mid-infrared spectroscopy study of twelve metal-oxalate complexes, of interest in art conservation science as alteration compounds, was performed. Spectra of the reference materials highlighted the presence of derivative-like and/or inverted features for the fundamental vibrational modes as result of the main contribution from the surface component of the reflected light. In order to provide insights in the interpretation of theses spectral distortions, reflection spectra were compared with conventional transmission ones. The Kramers-Kronig (KK) algorithm, employed to correct for the surface reflection distortions, worked properly only for the derivative-like bands. Therefore, to pay attention to the use of this algorithm when interpreting the reflection spectra is recommended. The outcome of this investigation was exploited to discriminate among different oxalates on thirteen polychrome art-works analyzed in situ by reflection mid-infrared spectroscopy. The visualization of the v(s)(CO) modes (1400-1200 cm(-1)) and low wavenumber bands (below 900 cm(-1)) in the raw reflection profiles allowed Ca, Cu and Zn oxalates to be identified. Further information about the speciation of different hydration forms of calcium oxalates were obtained by using the KK transform. The work proves reflection mid-infrared spectroscopy to be a reliable and sensitive spectro-analytical method for identifying and mapping different metal-oxalate alteration compounds on the surface of artworks, thus providing conservation scientists with a non-invasive tool to obtain information on the state of conservation and causes of alteration of artworks. (C) 2013 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.