Design and refinement of a broad-spectrum imaging system for the examination of archival documents
LE3 .A278 2018
Bachelor of Science
An ultraviolet-to-near-infrared multipurpose imaging system was successfully developed. To meet experimental needs, the system had to be inexpensive, portable, produce high-quality images and be self-contained (consisting of all the light sources, filters and other equipment necessary for image production). Refinement of the system was done both qualitatively, by visually evaluating image quality, and quantitatively, by using spectroscopic techniques to produce spectra for the light sources and filters which allowed us to better match components to document requirements. The functionality of the system was tested in a practical application setting - imaging documents from the Acadia University archives and the CBU Beaton Institute. By taking advantage of the response of different archival materials to light, our imaging system was used to capture images of long-faded texts that appeared visible under ultravio-let and infrared luminescence conditions for black and blue inks, respectively. These phenomena were investigated first through a literature search and subsequently using spectroscopic and microscopic analysis methods. This investigation showed evidence for the pigment Prussian blue being the infrared luminescent material in blue inks. UV luminescence restoring dark inks was found to be likely due to the luminescence of the paper substrates.
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