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Laser technologies in the analysis, conservation and restoration of historic stained glass windows


Protection and conservation of historic stained glass windows is one of the most important, urging challenges for the European Cultural Heritage. Through many ages these valuable objects have been exposed to various atmospheric conditions: water, sunlight, wind, temperature changes; biological activity, human devastation and a deep air pollution. Those damaging factors caused irreversible changes in the glass structure and corroded the glass bulk. In the typical historic stained glasses the bulk glass is covered with a protective silica gel layer and with a superficial layers (corrosion crust, dirt, polymers and micro-organisms). Due to the lack of the homogeneity and the complexity of problems occurring on the corroded glass, the conservation of stained glass meets important difficulties in the chemical analysis of the bulk glass composition and in the removing of corrosion and dirt layers. The classical renovation methods employs chemical or mechanical treatments which present many disadvantages. As the alternative method, the laser cleaning was proposed. This project aims to realize the complex study on the interaction between laser irradiation and a corroded glass, followed by the construction of the laser cleaning station, dedicated to stained glass windows, equipped with LIBS and LIF. To prove the effectiveness of the developed system, the entire stained glass window panels from XVII century will be analyzed and cleaned. In the following, the obtained cleaning results will be compared with ones obtained by the traditional methods. Additionally the project will employ advanced, modern surface analysis techniques as SEM/EDX, AFM and Optical Coherence Tomography. In the evaluation step the physical, chemical, biological and climatic studies will be carry out to investigate whether laser cleaning is safe for the historical glass. In all parts of the research the stress will be put on the interdisciplinary cooperation between scientists and art conservators.

Call for proposal

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Academy of Fine Arts
Plac Jana Matejki 13
31-157 Krakow
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
EU contribution
€ 45 000
Administrative Contact
Pawel Karaszkiewicz (Dr.)