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Raman and SEM for cultural heritage studies

23 July 2015 | News
Dr Sergey Prikhodko in his laboratory.

The Department of Materials Science and Engineering at The University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) are using a Renishaw SEM-SCA system to study textiles and fibres, non-destructively. Recent work is reported in a paper in Journal of Raman Spectroscopy joint-authored by scientists from UCLA, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Cotsen Institute of Archaeology and Renishaw. The paper titled “New Advancements in SERS Dye Detection Using Interfaced SEM and Raman Spectromicroscopy (µRS)” describes how a scanning electron microscope may be interfaced with µRS to provide a means of non-destructively identifying organic compounds in complex samples, such as single fibres, by extraction-less analysis. This enables the characterisation of dyes from reference collections and archaeological textiles.

The lead author of the work is UCLA scientist, Dr Sergey V Prikhodko. He describes why Raman spectromicroscopy has become a powerful analytical technique for the study of artistic, historical and archaeological materials: “As a non-destructive method that may also be interfaced with other techniques, it makes the sample reusable for subsequent analyses after performing µRS. In situ morphological characterisation, elemental identification and structural analysis integrates µRS with scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDS) in the “hyphenated” SEM-EDS-µRS system at UCLA. This vital capability was brought together with the Renishaw SEM-SCA interface, where a Nova 230 SEM (FEI) is coupled to the Renishaw inVia confocal Raman microscope to provide structural and chemical analysis in situ.”

Dr Prikhodko’s results on samples of various fibres clearly illustrate the potential of this non-destructive method. Interfacing SEM with µRS provides a very powerful tool to analyse unique and irreplaceable samples and artefacts quickly and in a cost-effective manner.

More information: www.renishaw.com/SEMRaman.

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