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Microscopy for the Conservator of Art and Artifacts (1206)


Course schedule: 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Monday – Thursday, and 8:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Friday

This course covers the core polarized light microscopy curriculum and methods of sampling, characterization and identification of pigments, grounds, media and fibers.

Day 1
• Optics, reflection, refraction, contrast, resolution, numerical aperture, refractive index, crystal morphology, and microchemical tests
• Identification, function, adjustment, care and cleaning of polarized light microscope components
• Köhler illumination, micrometry, measuring particle size, fiber diameters, pigment particle size, and layer thickness

Day 2
Single polar crystal optics, refractive indices, methods of measurement, Becke line, pleochroism, and dispersion staining

Day 3
• Crossed polar crystal optics, birefringence, compensators, Michel-Lévy chart, sign of elongation and extinction
• Fiber characteristics (vegetable, animal and man-made).

Day 4
• Sampling and mounting techniques, use of atlases and reference standards, identification of pigments (particle shape, surface, cleavage, isotropy, anisotropy, refractive index, Becke line, color, pleochroism, birefringence, etc.)
• Identification of media, surface coatings, and glue
• Study of paintings, selection area, sampling and mounting techniques (cross sections and crushings), characterization and identification
• Microminiaturization and analytical procedures (ultramicrochemistry, micro solubility, micro density, micro refractive index, micro grinding, micro X-ray diffraction, particle-picking, micro extraction)

Day 5
• Photomicrography (illumination, selection and preparation of sample, precise focusing, exposure measurement and control)
• Special methods (phase, interference, fluorescence, electron microscopes, microprobes, chromatography, emission spectroscopy, mass spectrometry and dating methods)

There is no prerequisite for this course, and it satisfies the same prerequisites as course 1201.