Non-destructive Investigation of Paintings on Canvas by Continuous Wave Terahertz Imaging and Flash Thermography

Hai Zhang, Stefano Sfarra, Karan Saluja, Jeroen Peeters, Julien Fleuret, Yuxia Duan, Henrique Fernandes, Nicolas Avdelidis, Clemente Ibarra-Castanedo, Xavier Maldague

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

82 Citations (Scopus)


Terahertz (THz) imaging is increasingly used in the cultural heritage field. In particular, continuous wave (CW) and low frequency THz is attracting more attention. The first application of the THz technique inherent to the cultural heritage field dates back 10 years ago. Since 2006, tangible improvements have been conducted in the refinement of the technique, with the aim to produce clear maps useful for any art restorer. In this paper, a CW THz (0.1 THz) imaging system was used to inspect paintings on canvas both in reflection and in transmission modes. In particular, two paintings were analyzed: in the first one, similar materials and painting execution of the original artwork were used, while in the second one, the canvas layer is slightly different. Flash thermography was used herein together with the THz method in order to observe the differences in results for the textile support materials. A possible application of this method for the detection of artwork forgery requires some parameterization and analysis of various materials or thickness influence which will be addressed in a future study. In this work, advanced image processing techniques including principal component thermography (PCT) and partial least squares thermography (PLST) were used to process the infrared data. Finally, a comparison of CW THz and thermographic results was conducted.

Original languageEnglish
Article number34
JournalJournal of Nondestructive Evaluation
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2017


  • Continuous wave
  • Flash thermography
  • Nondestructive testing
  • Painting on canvas
  • Terahertz imagery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering

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