I do my best to have international scientists working on Sicilian Art; last week I hosted Corinna Koch Dandolo, currently PhD student at the prestigious DTU (Technical University of Denmark) Fotonik – Department of Photonics Engineering. Her research focuses on developing applications for cultural heritage examination for the advanced 3D THz (Terahertz) imaging technique. I posted here a video about the technique “Terahertz and Art Examination” and Corinna gives a nice paragraph long description on her Linkedin profile: “This technology is based on ultrashort pulses of light at very long wavelengths, the so-called THz pulses. The combination of high penetration power and high spatial resolution makes THz-frequency light a natural candidate for non-invasive inspection of a wide range of materials. In contrast to X-rays, THz light is harmless (non-ionising), and in contrast to ultrasound-based imaging, no mechanical contact with the material is required. Therefore, THz imaging is used for investigation of the inner structure of paintings and other important cultural heritage artefacts. These new developments is a signature of the growing interest from the conservation and restoration research field in the development of new methods for inspection of the internal structure of invaluable cultural artefacts.“
As usual I invite researchers and training students to apply their methods to field projects in Sicily that I’m already working on with other international scientists and Sicilian professionals in the cultural heritage sector. These murals had already been examined by Samantha Stout (University of California San Diego) with XRF spectroscopy and Camilla Perondi (University of Bologna) with multispectral imaging.
Thanks to her supervisor, Prof. Peter Uhd-Jepsen, ‘Terahertz Science and Technology” group leader, who was so kind to send Corinna for this case of study. To the best of our knowledge, we manage to have the first Terahertz art examinations in Sicily. I and Corinna decided to start working with her THz system on the newly discovered frescoes in my hometown, Aci Sant’Antonio, focusing on study of the internal structure of the frescoes.
We also focused on the examination of the overall health of the murals in order to contribute scientific data to the conservation project which will soon take place.
Special thanks to Don Vittorio Rocca to allow us to run the examination and to Raffaello di Mauro, the architect who has curated the conservation work which lead to the discovery, to provide information on the frescoes and the chapel.