Technology

InsightART’s x-ray imaging systems are based on high-tech photon counting cameras that originate from particle physics experiments. Our 2D and 3D RToo x-ray scanners use customised WidePIX x-ray imaging detectors developed by our parent company, ADVACAM, which measure the wavelength of individual photons at a resolution of 55 µm or better. This gives us the possibility to create x-ray images with an unprecedented number of grey levels (contrast) and enables us to identify the elemental composition (materials) of art objects.

Because of our scanners’ ability to detect very small differences in x-ray attenuation in the sample, we are able to discern much more information compared to standard x-ray imaging systems. The resulting images provide you with unprecendented insight into the internal structure and composition of the scanned object.

Our game-changing x-ray imaging technology also allows for the precise detection of later modifications of an examined art object’s (micro-) structure and creates a full-scale map of the extent and type of damage or modification. The resulting full-scale microscopic map is an invaluable tool in the discovery of forged paintings and other fine art objects and also assists in the authentication of art by delivering exact forensic data.

Offered methods

As part of our comprehensive service offer, we employ the following imaging methods to each scanned object:

High-resolution x-ray radiography (HRXR)

Full-area high-resolution black-and-white scan

HRXR imaging provides a fully digital grey-scale x-ray image of fine art objects that greatly exceeds the quality of standard x-ray images in terms of detail resolution and detectability. The superior image quality brings insight into the internal microscopic structure of the artwork at the full scale of the scanned object.

Material resolving (colour) x-ray radiography (MRXR)

Full-area high-resolution “colour” scan showing material composition

MRXR is a high-end technique that offers a pseudo-colour x-ray image of fine art objects, where colours are associated with different material (pigment) groups identified in the artwork. The material map is measured at high spatial resolution, which allows for exceptionally detailed resolution and detectability. The material map and superior image quality bring unprecedented insight into the internal microscopic structure and material composition of the artwork at the full scale of the scanned object.

Macrophotography

High-quality macrophotography combined with an x-ray image

High-quality macrophotography of an investigated artwork combined with an x-ray image provides important information about the correlation of the interior structure seen by x-rays and by photography of the object’s surface. Macrophotography takes place within the x-ray scanner, which allows for a high-resolution image aligned precisely at the pixel level with the x-ray image. The spatial resolution is also at the level of 20 to 50 µm. A high-quality, full-area macro image of the artwork forms the basis for post-production digital analysis. This technology allows for the examination of the entire area of an image at the macroscopic scale. With the help of full-area macroscopic mapping, it is possible to perform comparisons and surveys necessary for the verification of artwork authenticity.

Black and white scan / colour scan with colours assigned to different pigments

Resolution of 150 µm / 50 µm

High noise / low noise