cave painting, framed painting, and vase scanned with raman spectrometer


Art and archaeological conservation study has proven to be extremely difficult due to years of decay and neglect, creating discrepancies in accurate history of artifacts. Portable Raman spectroscopy, partnered with techniques such as X-ray fluorescence and diffuse reflectance has become the standard technique for studying and identifying art and artifacts from previous decades. These techniques have uncovered discoveries in prehistoric paintings on rock walls, unearthing hidden images and providing crucial information that scientifically dates the crusts and the rock art. Raman can be used to study organics and inorganics – both are present in paints, pigments, and architectural materials. Portability allows the user to maintain integrity of important heritage sites, and aligns with requirements of conservationists working to understand the origins of objects without needing to completely disrupt the environment.

Enhanced Raman technology has allowed us to study the results of biological activity in ancient environments and human cultural heritage as reflected in art and artifacts. Raman spectroscopy also serves as an important tool in identifying art forgeries, natural and synthetic pigments can be identified and differentiated.


i-Raman® Prime

High throughput, Highly Sensitive, High Resolution Raman System

i-Raman® EX

1064nm Fiber Optic Raman System

i-Raman® Plus

Highly Sensitive, High Resolution Fiber Optic Raman System

Request a Quote or Information

Application Notes

The mysteries of our origins have intrigued humans since the beginning of time. In this application note, a Raman Spectrometer manufactured by B&W Tek was used in analysis to show feasibility of Raman for the ‘Exomars’ payload mission launched in 2018.
Read the full application note
The benefits of Raman spectroscopy are well recognized for the molecular identification of unknown samples and being used routinely in various applications areas.
Read the full application note
Raman spectroscopy is a nondestructive and highly versatile technique for analysis of chemicals, both organic and inorganic. It is used in industry, bioscience, medical diagnosis, forensics, and many other areas.
Read the full application note
This application note focuses on rock art paintings in open-air rock shelters in five rock art sites in the eastern Iberian Peninsula. Each of these sites presents outstanding difficulties of analysis by Raman spectroscopy, the most prevalent being crusts that mask Raman signals from the pigments and any other component of the paint recipe. X-ray fluorescence and diffuse reflectance using portable instruments as well as electronic microscopy and energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy of micro-specimens from the painting panels have revealed the distribution of the different components. This not only helps to discern what the images are, but also contributes to the scientific dating of the crusts and rock art itself.
Read the full application note
Being applied in archaeology only in the recent years, Raman spectroscopy is becoming increasingly important as an analytical tool in conservation science. Its relevance is given by the intrinsic properties of the technique; actually Raman spectra are obtained by excitation with low energy radiation; by contrast with common “archaeology” experimental techniques such as Mossbauer spectroscopy and Electronic Spin Resonance, Raman spectroscopy is completely not destructive and does not need any pretreatment of the samples. Moreover, thanks to the advances in the technology devices in the recent years, it is possible to collect excellent experimental data in situ, by means of optical fiber coupled devices with small and compact dispersive apparatus
Read the full application note
Chemical identification is an important part of the study of archaeological artefacts and artworks. This information can be obtained through nondestructive Raman analysis directly within the environment in which the artefacts are discovered. This information is extremely helpful in forming the basis of identifying pigments, dyes and paints used; thus indicating when and how a piece was made, giving insight into the time period of creation, and suggesting the authenticity of the object.
Read the full application note
Portable Raman Spectroscopy is widely used for the analysis of paintings, ceramics, statues (surface coatings), and other artifacts. The flexibility of fiber optics in conjunction with the non-destructive and non-contact nature of Raman spectroscopy allows measurements to be made in-situ.
Read the full application note
Carbon black is a form of amorphous carbon. It is mainly used as reinforcement filler in automobile tires and other rubber products, but is also used in pigments, paint, and carbon paper. Raman spectroscopy is a very effective analytical technology to characterize carbon materials. The fast characterization of carbon black material using Raman spectroscopy is discussed here to demonstrate that Raman technology is well suited for carbon black material characterization.
Read the full application note
This app note details how the i-Raman EX portable Raman spectrometer was utilized to identify colorants used in stamps on a historical envelope from 1885 while maintaining sample integrity
Read the full application note