In-situ analytical assessment and chemical imaging of historical buildings using a man portable laser system

F.J. Fortes, J. Cuñat, L.M. Cabalin, J.J. Laserna, Applied Spectroscopy, 2007, 61, 558 – 564


In this work, the capability of laser-induced breakdown spectrometry for the in situ analytical assessment and chemical mapping of the façade of the cathedral of Malaga (Spain) has been demonstrated. The task required the use of a portable laser analyzer that allowed real-time spectral acquisitions in the field. A man-portable laser, based on a Q-switched Nd:YAG laser operating at its fundamental wavelength, has been utilized to generate a LIBS plasma of the sample surface. A chemical characterization of the different materials employed in the construction of this building has been performed. The purpose of this study was to use LIBS spectrochemical analysis to qualitatively discriminate between sandstone, limestone, marble, and cement mortar, which are the main components used in this class of historical monument. The field analysis was performed in two zones: the northern façade and the “girola”; the total areas of analysis of the two regions were 250 m(2) and 650 m(2), respectively. Chemical images of Si/Ca and Ca/Mg ratios from both parts of the building were generated. During the measurement campaign, a protocol of analysis was chosen so as to achieve an accurate description of the building materials with respectable spatial resolutions.

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