Scanning Microscopy


The environmental scanning electron microscope (E-SEM) provides electron imaging at relatively high sample pressure, with imaging and analysis capabilities comparable to those of traditional high vacuum SEM. Several case studies demonstrate the advantages and research potential of this new technology as applied to conservation science: 1) dynamic study of wetting and drying of consolidated and unconsolidated adobe samples; 2) semi-dynamic study of lead corrosion as a result of exposure to formaldehyde; 3) electron imaging of outgassing samples-parchment; 4) study of uncoated, non-conductive samples-swabs from Sistine Chapel cleaning; 5) X-ray analysis of uncoated insulators-gold and garnet jewelry. The environmental scanning electron microscope offers unique capabilities for dynamic experiments, imaging of outgassing samples and insulators, which may be applied to the study of deterioration mechanisms, material treatments, and ancient materials and technologies.

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