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Gilded copper studied by non-destructive energy-dispersive X-ray fluorescence

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In this paper, various methods that have been developed to analyse gilded copper samples and to determine gilding composition and thickness are discussed. All of these methods are based on energy-dispersive X-ray fluorescence (EDXRF). EDXRF allows for the determination of the internal ratios of Cu and Au-X lines through an accurate quantitative analysis of EDXRF spectra. The 'anomalous' ratios of Cu and Au-X lines, and the ratio (Au/Cu), allow for the determination of the gilding thickness with an error of less than 5%, in a thickness interval of 0.1-5 μm. These methods have first been tested on standard gildings and then applied to copper gilded pens and employed to study pre-Columbian gilded copper artefacts from the north of Peru. Finally, a gilded inscription at the top of the Trevi Fountain in Rome was analysed.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2018

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