Concept of technology

Concept of technology

Preliminary results that led to the basic concept of the artMAP project

INOE 2000 carries out research on advanced optoelectronic methods and techniques for artwork restoration and conservation since 1996. Starting with 2006 INOE 2000 operates a complex mobile laboratory (ART4ART – Advanced Research Technology for Art and Archaeology). Based on more than 20 years of successful national and international research, the department activity is focused on integration of non- and micro-invasive investigation methods for polyvalent applications: material characterization; diagnosis; conservation status evaluation, prediction of monument/artwork conservation dynamics; simulations; long-term on-line monitoring of microclimate, air–quality and stress factors on monuments via wireless network of specialized sensors; development of open-laboratory for on-line access to infrastructure. The physico-chemical investigations laboratory is accredited by the Romanian Ministry of Culture since 2014 (license no. 64/27.05.2014).

Significant experience was accumulated in multidisciplinary research projects as well as from various on-site collaborations. Important in-situ investigations campaigns were carried on several national and international monuments and archeological sites: the Sculptural Ensemble of Constantin Brâncuși in Targu-Jiu; Tismana Monastery; the painted churches in northern Moldova; the Hypogeum tomb in Tomis; Sarmizegetusa archeological site; Bran Castle; painted caves in Tibet (India); Saint Stephen’s Church (UNESCO World Heritage Site, Bulgaria); the Mosque–Cathedral of Cordoba (UNESCO World Heritage Site, Spain); Gothic Door of the Apostles (Morella, Spain).

A leader in the field of Heritage Science, INOE is member of important international organization such as ICOM and ICOMOS, and observer within the European Research Infrastructure for Heritage Science (E-RIHS).  Previous or current participation in relevant EU projects include: CLT 2003/A1/RO-515 – CULTURA 2000) Advanced On-Site Laboratory for European Antique Heritage Restoration; CLT 2005/A1/RO-488 – CULTURA 2000; Saving sacred relics of European Medieval Cultural Heritage; COST IS 1005 – Medieval Cultures and Technological Resources; HORIZON 2020, IPERION HS – Integrating Platforms for the European Research Infrastructure on Heritage Science.

The LIF system was developed within INOE 2000 between 2006 and 2008 as a portable laser scanning device for polychrome artwork surface investigation. The system was designed to generate intensity distribution maps for different LIF spectrum peaks, obtained by scanning the investigated surface. A first national patent was granted in 2009 (RO125259-B11, and the LIF system was immediately implemented in several studies 2,3. The concept was further developed, mainly due to the fact that all the elements were custom build, including the control software. One of the main upgrades was the implementation of a remote operation capability, via the Internet (or teleoperation) 4. The development was a novel achievement for Romanian scientific community. Using LabView webserver features, a protocol was designed so that the software user interface could be accessible via a local server and an HTML page, in a web browser, from anywhere in the world. This upgrade required several hardware adjustments including a video live feed of the scanned area. The control and feedback were in real-time. This upgraded system was also patented at national level in 2012 (RO127589-A2) 5.

The LIF scanning system was successfully used in laboratory but also in field campaigns (Tismana Monastery, Magurele Church, Painted Tombs in Constanta) and within several workshops and demo exhibitions (Mosaic edifice in Constanta, CHRESP workshop in Ljubljana, St. Stephen Church in Nessebar). A third patent was obtained in 2014 (RO129317-A2) 6 along with several awards (gold medal at international invention and innovation fairs) for innovative applications of the LIF system within the cultural heritage field. Given the only wavelength available and the low power output of the laser beam, the range of applications is currently limited. This also explains the absence of any new publications (LIF related) within the last years, and reinforce the need of an upgraded system.

Important results were also obtained via FTIR spectroscopy on a large number of artifacts, including mural paintings (investigation of 14th c. mural paintings from Tismana Monastery; investigation of the Facade of the Arciprestal Church of Santa María de Morella, 14th c., Castellón, Spain), results of the studies being published in top international journals  7–11. The most significant results obtained so far than can be related to the preset project proposal include: the first analytical studies carried on 2nd century Roman mural paintings from Ulpia Traiana Sarmizegetusa 12. The latest research carried by our group on Roman wall painting fragments coming from Alburnus Maior (Roşia Montană) 13 highlighted the first evidence regarding the use of the a secco painting technique, the presence of an organic binder being identified in some of the investigated samples by FTIR analysis. These studies also discuss the limitations of standard FTIR measurements in terms of the capability to accurately identify the nature of organic binders (present in low concentrations) in small wall painting fragments, and the necessity of using refined procedures or combined analysis.

Technology Readiness Level (TRL) value at the beginning of the project

The Technology Readiness Level at the beginning of the project is TRL 3 (Experimental proof of concept). Both LIF and FTIR systems have been successfully used, independently, in previous studies carried by our group both in laboratory or in-situ. The LIF scanning system was developed and patented by INOE 2000. FTIR was successfully applied for the investigation of organic compounds in a large variety of samples, including aged paint layers (with numerous research papers published). The new proposed method combines an upgraded LIF system and an enhanced FTIR procedure that has not been tested before in this exact experimental set-up. The new proposed method will be tested and validated during laboratory studies. By the end of the project, the concept will reach TRL 4 (Technology validated in lab). Once validated, the new developed method can be transferred for the analysis of other artifacts, thus opening-up new diagnostic approaches and applications within the cultural heritage field.


  1. Striber J, Angheluţǎ LM, Rǎdvan R, Simileanu M, Savastru R. Optoelectronic device and process for the qualitative analysis of art objects surfaces by LIF technique, Romanian patent [RO125259-B1] deposited on 14.05.2008.
  2. Angheluta L, Striber J, Radvan R, Simileanu M. Automated optoelectronic device for qualitative analysis of the artwork surfaces using the LIF technique. Rom Reports Phys. 2008.
  3. Striber J, Radvan R, Angheluta LM. Laser spectroscopy methods for an 18th century grisaille painting investigation. J Optoelectron Adv Mater. 2009.
  4. Angheluta L, Moldovan A, Radvan R. The teleoperation of a lif scanning device. UPB Sci Bull Ser A Appl Math Phys. 2011.
  5. Angheluţǎ LM, Moldovan AS, Ene DV, Rǎdvan R, Savastru R. Internet remote operated complex system for investigating works of art by using laser-induced fluorescence, Romanian patent RO127589-A2 deposited on 23.11.2010.
  6. Rădavn R, Ene DV, Ratoiu L, Angheluţǎ LM. Optoelectronic device and process for measurement and qualitative analysis of interior surfaces of archaeological artworks using the LIF technique , Romanian patent RO129317-A2 deposited on 13.09.2012.
  7. Huică I, Cortea IM, Ratoiu L, Ghervase L, Rădvan R, Mohanu D. Multidisciplinary approach for time-framing of an overpainted wooden iconostasis from Southern Romania. Microchem J. 2020;155:104685. doi:10.1016/j.microc.2020.104685
  8. Cortea IM, Ghervase L, Ratoiu L, Dinu M, Rădvan R. Uncovering hidden jewels: an investigation of the pictorial layers of an 18th-century Taskin harpsichord. Herit Sci. 2020;8(1):55. doi:10.1186/s40494-020-00401-3
  9. Ghervase L, Cortea IM, Rădvan R, Ratoiu L, Chelmuș A. Complementary investigations of two Lipovan-style icons. Microchem J. 2018;138:509-518. doi:10.1016/j.microc.2018.01.047
  10. Cortea I, Ghervase L, Dumbravicean M. Combined spectroscopic analysis for identification of mural paintings materials. In: 2015 22nd International Conference on Systems, Signals and Image Processing – Proceedings of IWSSIP 2015. ; 2015:329-332. doi:10.1109/IWSSIP.2015.7314241
  11. Ferrazza L, Valls MTP, Zamorano GMC, et al. Multidisciplinary approach applied to the diagnosis of the facade of the arciprestal church of santa maría de morella (Castellón, Spain). Scanning. 2019;2019:1-14. doi:10.1155/2019/2852804
  12. Cortea IM, Ghervase L, Țentea O, Pârău AC, Rădvan R. First Analytical Study on Second-Century Wall Paintings from Ulpia Traiana Sarmizegetusa: Insights on the Materials and Painting Technique. Int J Archit Herit. 2020;14(5):751-761. doi:10.1080/15583058.2019.1568614
  13. Cortea IM, Ratoiu L, Ţentea O, Ghervase L, Dinu M. Investigation of Ancient Wall Painting Fragments Discovered in the Roman Baths from Alburnus Maior by Complementary Non-Destructive Techniques. Appl Sci. 2021. doi: 10.3390/app112110049