Micro X-Ray Diffractometer



With the micro X-Ray diffractometer, (µ-XRD) it is possible to identify and analyze many types of samples. This instrument is indispensable when determining the mineralogical composition of a sample, such as the inorganic pigments used in a work of art and each pigments’ composition. With many pieces, the techniques used by the original artist or restorations over the centuries may have caused deterioration of some natural pigments that fortunately, with µ-XRD, can be definitively characterized. For instance, by allowing researchers to identify the current crystal structure of the blue, green and copper-base pigments used in Egyptian coffins, the µ-XRD helps to determine the causes of degradation of these important historical artifacts. This is very important for the restoration and proper conservation of each work of art. One of the main goals of this instrument is to analyze micro-samples and to identify materials in cross-section. This is possible because of the µ-XRD’s microfocus technology. With this technology, restorers can identify localized materials (like pigments, preparation layer, mortar) and understand the techniques used by artists in works such as the Borgia Apartments, the Candelabri Galleries and Carte Geografiche Galleries. Another very important capability of the µ-XRD is the characterization of restoration materials like polymeric materials and pigments used for reintegration of a paint. This technique will allow researchers to evaluate the potential interaction between restoration materials and the original materials already present. This is an essential part of restoration because it ensures that the restorative process does no further harm to the piece. The µ-XRD will make it possible to study minerals from the pozzolana used to make mortar and to identify the quarries where this came from. Since some types of degradation in frescoes are due to the minerals present in pozzolana, the in-depth study of the substance and its origins will be very helpful in the restoration process. Another very important study that can be carried out with µ-XRD is the classification of organic materials to determine their crystal structures their degradation mechanisms. The Rigaku company have developed a R-AXIS RAPID/MicroMax-002 diffractometer, which could be the perfect tool for these studies. It is a versatile and sensitive instrument to study powder, macromolecules and small molecules, making it the most appropriate for our research laboratory.