In the last decades, Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy (FTIR) and Mass Spectrometry (MS) have found an important place in the scientific examination of works of art. These techniques only require minute amounts of sample to perform analysis at the molecular level. They are well suited for the analysis of microscopic samples removed from easel paintings and have found particular use in the study of binding media and other organic materials. Typical samples removed from easel paintings have microscopic size and present a complex superimposition of layers, each composed of different materials mixed together.


van der Weerd, J., Wyplosz, N., Noble, P., Wadum, J., Bryan, S., Belu, A., … Heeren, R. (1999). Mass spectrometric examination of the surface of an embedded paint cross-section. In Proceedings of the 47th ASMS conference on Mass Spectrometry and Allied Topics, Dallas, Texas, June 13-17, 1999 (pp. 980–981).