Materials Science Research

Art, Conservation & Archaeology

Supporting Cultural Heritage Analysis

Understanding our Cultural Heritage lies in a detailed knowledge of the objects that comprise that heritage. Learning about how an object was created, its origin, and how to preserve it for future generations, are goals we all share.


Bruker supports these goals through instrumentation that provides measurement capabilities ranging from point-by-point analysis to large area scanning, at the scale of millimeters down to micrometers. Our tools support nearly all analytical needs for Fine Art and Museum objects, as well as field- and lab-based Archaeological characterization.

Highlights in Art and Conservation


Unveiling Rembrandt's "The Night Watch"

Bruker's M6 JETSTREAM takes center-stage for this challenging project to better understand the painting processes and condition of Rembrandt's famous work of art. Positioned on a mobile working platform, a total of 56 scans each taking 24 hrs and covering areas of up to 78 x 58 cm revealed the chemical compositions of the paint layers. The activity formed a key part of "Operation Night Watch", a huge research and conservation project undertaken at Amsterdam's Rijksmuseum


The Mobile Lab in Conservation and Archaeology

Not every painting, object or artifact can be brought to the lab for study. A painting may be on permanent display. The artwork may be on the walls of a 15th century villa or the ceiling of a church. Measurements may need to be made on the site of an archaeological dig. The solution is to go portable.

Bruker can help you take the lab to where you need to be for your project, with a range of mobile and fully portable non-invasive analytical tools designed to work almost anywhere and anytime. Our handheld and ultraportable tripod mounted devices are designed to run continuously for hours from internal batteries, or from an external battery pack, removing the need for a proximal power supply. Many of the portable instruments are designed with touch-screen interfaces for completely untethered analysis, or from a laptop, making on-site and remote analytical work easy. Check out the TRACER family of handheld XRF spectrometers or the ELIO mobile mapping XRF instrument for spot and mapping elemental solutions. For correlation with elemental data or identification of organic and other molecular structures, look for the BRAVO portable Raman and the ALPHA II portable FT-IR analyzers.

Engineering New Solutions to Questions in Art & Conservation

Techniques and approaches in analysis of cultural heritage materials are ever evolving. What directions do you need to go to solve your research questions?

A team of engineers is continuously working on advanced prototypes and special projects with partner museums and university groups in the Art and Conservation family.

Webinars on Art & Conservation

cultural heritage element map

Cultural Heritage Under the Microscope: Getting to the Fine Detail with Advanced Elemental Analysis by Scanning Electron Microscope

Where investigation begins at the macro scale, non-invasive techniques such micro-XRF mapping allow SEM analysis to be conducted on the smallest samples taken with surgical precision to maximize outcomes.

ELIO, Portability and Flexibility in Art Studies - Hear our Experts’ Voice

Bruker's ELIO portable micro-XRF scanner supports studies in Art & Conservation worldwide, taking XRF measurements to the object of interest, wherever it may be. Join us to learn about how ELIO is helping our partners in Art & Conservation to delve deeper and reveal new insights with their research.

XRF Data Processing in Art and Conservation with ESPRIT Reveal

Bruker offers best in class solutions for the field of art studies from super portable handheld systems to highly sophisticated mapping instruments.
Analysis of cultural heritage with Handheld XRF

Handheld and Portable-XRF in Cultural Heritage - Part I

Handheld-XRF instruments have become a staple in the toolkit used by cultural heritage professionals and researchers the world over. Non-invasive major, minor and trace elemental analysis in an ultra-portable package allows much to be learned about a wide range of culturally important objects, without the need for sub-sampling, or worse, sample destruction.
ELIO micro-XRF spectrometer

Flexible and portable XRF mapping solutions for Art and Conservation: Bruker’s ELIO and CRONO spectrometers

XRF analysis is a key component for scientists in art studies, providing elemental data for conservation and preservation of objects.
Map Saint Vincent Panels Art & Conservation
On-Demand Session - 69 Minutes

XRF Data Processing in Art and Conservation - Advanced Features of ESPRIT Reveal

X-ray fluorescence (XRF) measurements are widely considered as a key step for a diagnosis in the process of conservation, restoration, authentication, or when addressing historic questions around an art object.

Videos on Art & Conservation

Bruker ELIO to study the Old Woman Praying by Rembrandt at Residenzgalerie in Salzburg
Analyzing Layers on Paintings Using Micro-XRF
Micro-XRF Element Mapping for the Analysis of Portrait Miniatures
Micro-XRF Analysis of the Original Painting Underneath the Overpainting
MAXRF use in Music instruments - ELIO
XRF Ink Analysis of Selected Herculaneum Papyri