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The potential of UV-VIS-NIR absorption spectroscopy in glass studies

Publication date 2012
B-Phot Authors Wendy Meulebroeck, Andrea Ceglia, Hilde Wouters, Hugo Thienpont
DOI 10.1117/12.975684
W. Meulebroeck et al., “The potential of UV-VIS-NIR absorption spectroscopy in glass studies,” presented at the Proc. Spie Integrated approaches to the study of historical glass-IAS12, 2012, vol. 8422, p. 842208.
Abstract Absorption spectroscopy is the technique that measures the absorption of radiation as a function of wavelength, due to its interaction with the material. During a research project funded by our home university, we were able to investigate the possibilities of this technique to study ancient glasses. One of our main conclusions is that UV-VIS-NIR absorption spectroscopy is especially suited to characterize colored artifacts in terms of composition and furnace conditions. Moreover, for naturally colored window glasses, we have shown that this technique allows us to classify fragments based on differences in iron impurity levels. It is a semi-quantitative analysis tool that can be applied for a first-line analysis of (large) glass collections. Thanks to the commercial available portable instruments, these measurements can be performed at relative high speed and this in-situ if necessary. To illustrate the possibilities of this technique, we describe in this paper two case-studies. In a first test-case we analyze 63 naturally colored window glasses and demonstrate how groups with different iron concentrations can be identified by calculating the absorption edge position from the measured optical spectrum. In a second case-study 8 modern naturally colored and 31 intentionally colored Roman glass fragments are the point of focus. For these samples we first estimate which samples are potentially fabricated under the same furnace conditions. This is done based on the calculated color values. Finally we identify the type of applied colorants.
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