Research is carried out commonly in order to document the condition, the causes of damage and degradation and the restoration history of an object before an informed treatment plan is drawn out.
In addition to examination with the naked eye, raking light, ultraviolet fluorescence and the stereomicroscope, SRAL can deploy more advanced techniques, such as:
SRAL has a laboratory where, amongst other things, research into historical painting materials can be carried out. Microscopic paint fragments can be prepared for examination, which are then studied using a microscope at magnifications of up to 500x, both with visible light and with ultraviolet radiation. In this way insight can be gained into the structure and composition of paint layers and coatings and the nature of the pigments and binding materials can be determined. For medium analysis micro-chemical tests can also be conducted. Fibre analysis focuses on the identification of support materials such as paper, wood and textile.
X-ray examination is used for recording the internal structure of artefacts. To aid decision making during restoration treatments paintings, sculptures, architectural elements, and even modern art are examined if necessary.
The "x-raying" of artworks is also offered as a service and can be easily carried out on location.
SRAL has infrared equipement at its disposal not only for the visualisation of so-called underdrawings, but also for documenting areas of overpaint and changes in the paint layers.
For a more indepth analysis of pigments we have an electron microscope whereby, using SEM / EDX techniques, samples can be studied and elements can be analysed. For other techniques, including analysis of binding media SRAL cooperates with several research institutes.