Particle Accelerator

Particle Accelerator Dedicated to Art

Recently in Paris, a particle accelerator has been dedicated to art and this happens to be the world’s first particle accelerator dedicated for such purpose. The 37-meter huge installation is underneath the Paris museum. The sole purpose is to authenticate the paintings. It bears an upgrade cost of 2.1 million (approx.) and can determine the chemical makeup of objects without the need to take samples. The AGLAE (Accélerateur Grand Louvre d’Analyse Elémentaire) accelerator, as it is named, speeds up helium and hydrogen nuclei to speeds between 20000 to 30000 kilometers per second. The particles are allowed to bombard on the object and the emitted radiation is analyzed. The older version of the accelerator was built in 1988 which could work for 8 hours a day, but the new one works around the clock.

Particle Accelerator
A restorer from the Restoration of Museums of France (C2RMF) research center explains the operation of the AGLAE (Louvre accelerator of elemental analysis), an apparatus for the chemical analysis of art and archaeological pieces, at the labs of the Louvre museum in Paris. (Credit: STEPHANE DE SAKUTIN | AFP)

These days particle accelerators are finding importance from many societal aspects. Inspection of old paintings is one them. Ion beam analysis (IBA) is a commonly used technique for such investigations. The IBA technique reveals the composition of materials without destroying the sample. It can be carried out in surrounding air medium and usual vacuum conditions are not required anymore. Hence, IBA finds application in the analysis of ink, pigments, glass, ceramics, gems, stones or metal alloys. The technique is so powerful that it can be used to reveal even the palette that was used by an artist for an artwork. IBA covers a large number of complementary techniques, out of which, PIXE (Particle Induced X-ray Emission) and IBIL (Ion beam Induced Luminescence) are of vital importance. The aforesaid accelerator AGLAE uses the ion beam technique for its analysis. Another such accelerator facility is at LABEC, which is in Florence, Italy.

Particle Accelerator
Using a synchrotron, a type of particle accelerator similar to the Large Hadron Collider, researchers in Australia also experimented with a famous painting “Portrait of a Woman” and revealed a hidden face and several secrets. (Credit: Australian Synchrotron)

Source:, BBC, Surrey, Accelerators for society

Rakesh Moulick, Ph.D., is presently working as an Assistant Professor at Lovely Professional University, Punjab, India. Dr. Moulick is a theoretical plasma physicist. His research interest lies in the study of Plasma sheath, Particle in cell techniques, Fluid dynamics, molecular dynamics etc. Apart from having a dignified research honor, he takes a keen interest in popularizing science and lures as a good science communicator.