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Science meets art: Confocal X-ray Fluorescene Microscope at CHESS

By Arthur Woll


development in X-ray instrumentation. Two European groups, one at BESSY II [1] and the other at HASYLAB [2], had demonstrated how to combine two focusing X-ray optics to isolate fluorescence signals from a 3D volume in space. The idea, called confocal X-ray fluorescence microscopy (CXRF), immediately piqued Don’s interest as a possible new application for single-bounce monocapillary X-ray optics, technology Don and his co-workers have developed at CHESS over the last several years. As a new staff scientist on the lookout for exciting projects, I became quickly interested as well. That Spring, Sol Gruner described the technique to Jennifer Mass, a chemist and conservation scientist working for the Winterthur Museum in Delaware, and a collaboration was born. At the CHESS Users ’ Meeting later that year, I invited Jennifer to introduce CHESS to the field of conservation science, and to discuss what resolution would be required to resolve individual layers in a painting. Her talk [3] was both exciting and humbling. An immense fraction of painted works hide tantalizing, secret treasures – everything from abandoned sketches to complete works of art that were later painted over – often by the same artist that produced th

Year: 2005
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