The X-ray diffraction beamline MCX at Elettra: a case study of non-destructive analysis on stained glass

Jasper Rikkert Plaisier, Luca Nodari, Lara Gigli, Elena Paz Rebollo San Miguel, Renzo Bertoncello, Andrea Lausi


The MCX beamline at the synchrotron Elettra is the general purpose diffraction beamline that is well suited for non-destructive and innovative X-ray diffraction (XRD) experiments in the field of cultural heritage. The experimental station houses a large number of instruments facilitating a range of different types of analysis. Recently, a comprehensive study of the alteration products in grisaille paints was performed at the beamline. This type of analysis is very important to understand the complex processes involved in the deterioration of this type of glass decoration. An exhaustive characterization of these products and so a full understanding of the mechanism of their formation may lead to the development of new protective materials for conservation and restoration. XRD experiments at the MCX beamline allowed us to recognize the alteration products on the grisailles surface and to propose a mechanism for the formation of alteration patina. Here we present the beamline, its instrumentation and its capabilities by showing an example of the study on grisaille paints. 

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