Center for Research and Restoration of Museums, Louvre celebrates the inauguration of Applied Spectra’s RESO-EX Laser Ablation Instrument


Published on 11/24/2023

On October 19, 2023, the Center for Research and Restoration of Museums of France had the joy of celebrating the inauguration of a new instrument intended for the study of heritage materials: the LA-ICP-MS, a spectrometer of laser ablation inductively coupled plasma mass. New research perspectives are opening up to researchers and collection managers. 

presentation of the project’s poster by Benoit Mille, Head of the Object Group, Research department @C2RMF/Alexis Komenda


The instrument that was inaugurated is an essential complement to the techniques already available at the C2RMF and within the Ile-de-France heritage sciences community. It indeed appeared necessary to go further in the sensitivity to certain chemical elements, further in chemical imaging, further in the exploration of the layers present on the surface of the works. It was also necessary to be able to offer, alongside elementary chemical analysis, the possibility of another type of analysis, in this case isotopic analysis. 
This is what mass spectrometry and its coupling with laser ablation allows. This unique prototype, developed exclusively for the C2RMF, offers even more. The offset arm makes it possible to overcome the limitation to small objects usually imposed by this type of instrument. Very large works can now be placed in front of the laser.


As a nationally competent service of the Ministry of Culture, the C2RMF’s mission is, among other things, to constitute, in collaboration with collection managers, documentation on the materials of museum works and more generally heritage collections. These materials are very diverse and often difficult to access: limiting the invasive side of analytical techniques to the strict minimum is a constant concern. Consequently, documenting these materials, in other words determining their nature, often constitutes a challenge: you have to be able to say a lot from a little. To do this, the C2RMF conducts a permanent technological watch around the latest analysis methods available, which it must then adapt to its very specific constraints. The NEW AGLAE accelerator is the most obvious example, which for more than twenty years has attracted world-renowned French and international teams, driving, alongside C2RMF agents, instrumental developments and major research programs. . The ATRAMAP platform was born in this wake. Thanks to the financial support of the Ile de France region and the Ministry of Culture, ATRAMAP will be able to grow. 

This project was made possible thanks to the support of nine partners who agreed to join forces with the C2RMF to prepare and then develop this ambitious project: two national museums (the Louvre Museum and the MAN), a laboratory from the Ministry of Culture dedicated for the study and conservation of heritage (LRMH), a CEA/CNRS laboratory (LAPA/NIMBE) and four CNRS/University laboratories dedicated to archeology and archaeometry (ARSCAN, LGP, MSHM, TIME), and finally, a French school abroad (French School of the Far East)

There is therefore reason to rejoice, because behind the methodological barriers which are about to be overcome, a plethora of new discoveries awaits those involved in heritage/heritage. Around this platform and the collections awaiting documentation, new research and new collaborations are planned, with, to begin with, the partners of the ATRAMAP project. In the coming weeks, the C2RMF will be able to analyze the statuary group of Taharqa and Hémen, one of the most famous Egyptian works in the Louvre Museum. At the same time, a portal will be set up to formalize requests for access to the platform. A scientific council made up of around ten members, whose role will be to evaluate and select these applications, will also be created. The opening of the platform to the entire DIM PAMIR community will be made possible thanks to the support of C2RMF partners.

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