A high sensitivity, low noise and high spatial resolution multi-band infrared reflectography camera for the study of paintings and works on paper

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Delaney, JK 
Trumpy, G 
Didier, M 
Dooley, KA 

Infrared reflectography (IRR) remains an important method to visualize underdrawing and compositional changes in paintings. Older IRR camera systems are being replaced with near-infrared cameras consisting of room temperature infrared detector arrays made out of indium gallium arsenide (InGaAs) that operate over the spectral range of ~900 to 1700 nm. Two camera types are becoming prevalent. The first is staring array infrared cameras having 0.25–1 Megapixels where the camera or painting is moved to acquire tens of individual images that are later mosaicked together to create the infrared reflectogram. The second camera type is scanning back cameras in which a small InGaAs array (linear or area array) is mechanically scanned over a large image formed by the camera lens to create the reflectogram, typically 16 Megapixels. Both systems have advantages and disadvantages. The staring IR array cameras offer more flexible collection formats, provide live images, and allow for the use of spectral bandpass filters that can provide reflectograms with better contrast in some cases. They do require a mechanical system for moving the camera or the artwork and post-capture image mosaicking. Scanning back cameras eliminate or reduce the amount of mosaicking and movement of the camera, however the need to minimize light exposure to the artwork requires short integration times, and thus limits the use of spectral bandpass filters. In general, InGaAs cameras are not sensitive in the 1700 to ~2300 nm spectral region, which has been identified in prior studies as useful for examining paintings with copper green pigments or thick lead white paints. Prior studies using cameras with sensitivity from 1000 to 2500 nm have found in general the performance at wavelengths longer than 1700 nm degraded relative to the performance at shorter wavelengths. Thus, there is interest in a camera system having improved performance out to 2500 nm that can utilize spectral bandpass filters.

Infrared reflectography, Multi-band imaging, Near-infrared imaging, Conservation science
Journal Title
Heritage Science
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Springer Science and Business Media LLC