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Light Assisted-CRYStallization

Project description

Let there be light to help us see frescoes in their original glory

Frescoes – paintings on walls or ceilings – are created by applying a water-based paint directly on wet (fresh) plaster. Developed in Italy around the 13th century and perfected during the Renaissance, the technique has yielded world-famous frescoes including Michelangelo's paintings in the Sistine Chapel. Moisture, salts and atmospheric pollutants can all degrade these precious elements of cultural heritage, and improved restoration techniques are needed. The EU-funded LACRYS project will validate a unique light-assisted process for crystallisation that could be harnessed to dissolve mineral deposits without solvents. The technique will be universally applicable and include areas such as bone and teeth repair and nanomaterials fabrication.


The objective of the LACRYS project is to validate and de-risk a technology based on light assisted crystallization for restoration of artworks (frescos), to assess its market potential and identify the most suitable exploitation strategy. Precipitation or dissolution oThe precipitation or dissolution of single and composite materials is a ubiquitous process in materials science and nature. So far, it can be controlled at large scale either in laboratory experiments or industrial processes. However, controlling the precipitation (or dissolution) of a mineral phase at micron scale is nowadays a challenge opening the gate to precious applications in health sciences (bone and teeth repair), art preservation (frescos and most pieces of work), the synthesis of advanced complex materials and the polymorphic control in pharmaceutical industry. We have envisaged a new, feasible and affordable method to control the precipitation/dissolution of mineral phases at the scale of one micron and below. Our method uses light-sensitive molecules that can induce a local change of pH (or a local change of concentration of specific species) upon illumination with a particular wavelength. Light can be currently focused at the scale of tens of femtolitre in volume, thus allowing a formidable control of the nucleation and growth of mineral phases. The applications of this new technique would be almost universal. Therefore, we plan for this project: a) to demonstrate the limits of feasibility of the methodology and patent it; b) to optimize formulations for the specific cases of carbonate and phosphate precipitation/dissolution with obvious applications in bones and teeth repair and art preservation; c) to perform a market study to have a detailed evaluation of the value of the invention while exploring applications in the fields of polymorphic control, microgravity and fabrication of complex material at nanoscale, and d) to develop a plan for commercialization and promoting the technology.



Net EU contribution
€ 104 625,00
Calle serrano 117
28006 Madrid

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Comunidad de Madrid Comunidad de Madrid Madrid
Activity type
Research Organisations
Other funding
€ 0,00

Beneficiaries (2)