Institute for Photonics and Nanotechnologies, CNR, Milan


Coordinator of the Research Group: Austin Nevin

Institute for Photonics and Nanotechnologies participates in the project through in situ analysis of paintings and the study of model samples. Techniques based on the absorption, scattering and emission of light will be studied.


The research group consists of researchers from IFN and from the National Institute of Optics – CNR (INO). The group has consolidated experience in the development of instrumentation for optical and vibrational spectroscopy (both point-like analysis and for imaging) and in the application of advanced techniques for the analysis of works of art.

Analytical Techniques

IFN will contribute competence in the in situ analysis of paintings (fluorescence spectroscopy, Fluorescence Lifetime Imaging, (FLIM), Reflectography, Multispectral Imaging, MSI, Raman Spectroscopy Mapping ) for the determination of painting materials in terms of the absorption, non-linear diffusion and emission. Spectroscopic imaging techniques (fluorescence and reflectance) will be employed to measure the reflectance and emission from the surface of paintings. The techniques will allow the localisation of luminescent materials, the mapping of areas painted using the same pigment mixtures, and the detection of inhomogeneities which could be linked to degradation. In addition, results from imaging will be fundamental for the selection of the most significant areas for point-based analysis and mapping, and for the choice of suitable sampling locations. Absorption spectroscopy in the VIS-NIR range will be used to measure the optical properties of pigments. Fluorescence spectroscopy will be used for the measurement of the emission properties (spectral and lifetime) of organic materials (binding media and pigments) and of inorganic pigments including semiconductors. Analysis will be carried out with laboratory instruments and using portable imaging devices. Raman Spectroscopy Mapping will be used for the molecular analysis of organic and inorganic materials in the laboratory and in situ, thanks to the portability of the mapping system developed at IFN; the technique will be particularly useful for the discrimination of synthetic industrial pigments.


NEVIN A., SPOTO G., ANGLOS D. (2012). Laser spectroscopies for elemental and molecular analysis in art and archaeology. APPLIED PHYSICS. A, MATERIALS SCIENCE & PROCESSING, vol. 106, p. 339-361, ISSN: 0947-8396, doi: 10.1007/s00339-011-6699-z


Sara Bellei

Physicist, Ph.d Student and Research fellow

Raffaella Fontana

Physicist, Researcher

Austin Nevin

Chemist, Researcher

Enrico Pampaloni

Physicist, Researcher