IPERION HSIntegrating Platforms for the European Research Infrastructure ON Heritage Science

Optical microprofilometry

3D optical techniques, traditionally used for the analysis of statues, architectural elements, and archaeological finds, have been rarely applied to paintings. However, thanks to the evolution of high-resolution laser-based technologies, shape measurements of nearly flat surfaces has proven effective to quantify the extent of detachments and craquelure in the pictorial layer, to monitor the deformations of the support due to either environmental agents or the various phases of restoration, and to document the state conservation of the painting. Microprofilometry allows the survey of a variety material surfaces, regardless of their chromatic, reflective, and diffusion properties, providing topographic maps which enable to quantify 3D features with a micrometric resolution.

Fields of application

  • Cultural heritage

    architecture, art, decorative arts, mosaics, papyrus


  • inorganic

    ceramic (clay/mud brick/terracotta/earthenware/stoneware/porcelain), stone, pigment

  • organic

    animal parts, binding media, glues, wood, paper, textiles, varnishes


Optical micro-profilometer

The optical micro-profilometer realized at INO is composed of a commercial conoscopic probe mounted on two motorized high-precision linear stages. The probe is equipped with a 50 mm lens which sets a quota resolution of nearly 1 μm and a dynamic range of 8 mm at a stand-off distance about 40 mm. The overall accuracy...