Lasers in Conservation of Cultural Heritage

Lasers have been applied in conservation of cultural heritage since John Asmus demonstrated back in 1972 that laser pulses can remove contamination from a stone surface. Based on the vast number of published research papers and case studies, it is obvious by now that lasers are useful and reliable tools of the conservators' workshops.

The Institute of Physics in University of Pécs started cooperations on laser applications in the field of cultural heritage in 2005. A consortium led by the Institute and holding members such as Museum of Fine Arts Budapest and the Society of Hungarian Restorers, gained support in the international EUREKA EULASCAN program in 2006. Later, the grant TÁMOP-4.2.1.B-10/2/KONV-2010-0002 made it possible to purchase a dedicated, mobile Thunder Art Nd:YAG laser. The infrastructural background, the cumulated practical knowledge and the established interdisciplinary connections between physicists, conservators and archaeologists provide an excellent basis of the expansion of laser based techniques in the conservators’ practice in Hungary.

The main fields of our research are LIBS (laser induced breakdown spectroscopy), Raman spectroscopy, and laser cleaning of art objects.

Contact: Dr. Zsuzsanna Márton