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Table 1 The characteristics and major applications of each technique used in the field of architectural heritage conservation

From: Recent progress in instrumental techniques for architectural heritage materials

Analytical technique Destructiveness Portability Compatibility with synchrotron radiation sources Typical applications
OM Micro-destructive/non-destructive Portable No Morphology characterization of mortar, black crust, brick, ceramic, glass and the corresponding decay processes
AFM Micro-destructive Not portable No Surface analysis (roughness, symmetry and gloss level) of materials before and after physical and chemical treatments
SEM Destructive Not portable No Surface characterization of mortar, pigment, stone, etc. Equipped with EDX, it can provide elemental analysis
ESEM Destructive Not portable No Morphology characterization of biological deposition and biofilm
TEM Destructive Not portable No Cross-section characterization of formation mechanism of inorganic and organic compounds present in the interface of different materials
UV–vis Destructive Portable No Characterization of pigment and stained glass collected from ancient buildings.
LIBS Micro-destructive Not portable No Elemental and cross-section analysis for pigment, stone, brick, etc
FTIR Destructive/non-destructive Portable No Identification of organic functional groups in mortar, pigment, black crust, etc
Raman Destructive/non-destructive Portable No Characterization of pigment and dye used in architectural heritage
TG/DTA/DSC Destructive Not portable No Identification of the degree of carbonation and hydration reactions of mortars
XRF Destructive/non-destructive Portable Yes Major and trace elemental analysis for pigment, stone, mortar, etc. Assessment of biological and pollution impact on architectural materials
XRD Destructive Portable Yes Identification of crystalline phases of mortar, brick, pigment, stone, additive, etc
XPS Destructive Not portable No Characterization of surface contamination or corrosion products
XAS (XANES/EXAFS) Non-destructive Not portable Yes Detection of specific elements presented in glass, pigment, stone, ceramic, metal, mortar, wood, etc
PIXE/PIGE Non-destructive Not portable No Identification of elements at trace level presented in pigment, glass, mortar, etc
MS-based techniques Destructive Not portable No Identification and quantification of unknown organic compounds at molecular level