Table of Contents
Laser Chemistry
Volume 2006 (2006), Article ID 68679, 6 pages
Research Article

Optical Coherence Tomography for Examination of Parchment Degradation

1Institute of Physics, Nicolaus Copernicus University, ul. Grudziądzka 5, Toruń 87-100, Poland
2Centre for Biomedical Engineering and Physics, Medical University of Vienna, Waehringerstr. 13, Vienna A-1090, Austria
3Faculty of Chemistry and Chemical Technology, University of Ljubljana, Aškerčeva 5, Ljubljana SI-1000, Slovenia
4National and University Library, Turjaška 1, Ljubljana SI-1000, Slovenia

Received 20 September 2006; Revised 20 November 2006; Accepted 22 November 2006

Academic Editor: Costas Fotakis

Copyright © 2006 Michalina Góra et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


A novel application of Optical Coherence Tomography utilizing infrared light of 830 nm central wavelength for non invasive examination of the structure of parchment, some covered with iron gall ink, is presented. It is shown that both the parchment and the ink applied are sufficiently transparent to light of this wavelength. In the study, Spectral OCT (SOCT) as well as Polarisation Sensitive OCT (PS-OCT) techniques were used to obtain cross-sectional images of samples of parchment based on scattering properties. The second technique was additionally employed to recover the birefringence properties and the optical axis orientations of the sample. It was shown that freshly produced parchment exhibits a degree of birefringence. However, this property declines with ageing, and samples of old parchment completely depolarise the incident light.