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Laser cleaning of archaeologically corroded iron objects with inlays

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The paper presents the results of research investigating the possibility of applying laser cleaning for controlled layer-by-layer removal of iron corrosion from gilded silver foil on a medieval nomad’s belt pad. Lasers irradiated at the wavelengths of 355, 532, 1064 nm, 2.97, 10.6 μm were tested. A comparison of pulse durations of 100 μs, 100, 8, 6 ns, 75 ps, 100 fs were conducted. Corrosion samples were irradiated in various media: air, argon atmosphere, water, ethanol, engine oil, glycerin. In all of these cases removing of material occurred, but it was accompanied by surface blackening due the burnt organics and to thermal transformation of the goethite and lepidocrocite into magnetite. The best results from the point of view of achieving delicate cleaning and minimal conversion of goethite to magnetite were obtained by the Ti:Sa laser with a 100 fs pulse duration.

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The authors are grateful to M. E. Kilunovskaya and Vl. A. Semenov for the provided samples; to Paraskevi Pouli, Kristalia Melessanaki (IESL FORTH, Greece) for the opportunity to work with Palladio and Erb:YAG lasers. To our colleagues from the State Hermitage Museum: Tatiana Baranova, Natalia Pavlukhina for the organization of experiments at the IESL FORTH; Bazhena Kutergina for participating in experiments; Ksenia Chugunova for SEM images; Nikolay Malinovsky for the samples preparation. To Timofey Mutin for providing the CO2 laser experiments. Experimental studies were carried out using resources of the Centre of X-ray diffraction studies and Centre for Optical and Laser Materials Research at the Research park of Saint Petersburg State University.

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Correspondence to D. S. Prokuratov.

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This article is part of the Topical Collection on Fundamentals of Laser Assisted Micro- & Nanotechnologies.

Guest edited by Tigran Vartanyan, Vadim Veiko, Andrey Belikov and Eugene Avrutin.

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Prokuratov, D.S., Davtian, A.S., Vereshchagin, O.S. et al. Laser cleaning of archaeologically corroded iron objects with inlays. Opt Quant Electron 52, 113 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11082-020-2231-z

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  • Laser cleaning
  • Ablation
  • Femtosecond pulses
  • Iron corrosion
  • Archaeology