Table 1: Summary of analytical techniques used in the field of built cultural heritage, regarding acquired information, sample requirements, and major limitations.

TechniquesAcquired informationSample requirementsLimitations

Atomic absorption/emission spectroscopy
AAS/AES
(i) Elemental chemical composition
(ii) High sensibility & precision for quantitative analysis (ppm/ppb)
(i) Solid samples are converted to liquid solutions(i) Time-consuming sample preparation
(ii) Sample destruction
Inductively coupled plasma optical emission spectrometry
ICP-OES
Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy
FTIR
(i) Molecular chemical composition
(ii) Qualitative analysis
(i) Small amount of solid & liquid samples
(ii) No sample preparation for ATR-FTIR mode
(iii) Nondestructive in situ instrumentation
(i) Peak overlay and/or shifting, when mixtures are measured
(ii) Database is required
RAMAN spectroscopy(i) Molecular chemical composition
(ii) Qualitative analysis
(i) No preparation of solid samples
(ii) Nondestructive in situ instrumentation
X-ray fluorescence
XRF
(i) Elemental chemical composition
(ii) Quantitative analysis
(i) No preparation of solid samples
(ii) Nondestructive in situ instrumentation
(i) Quantification uncertainty
(ii) Elements of low atomic number are not detected
X-ray diffraction
XRD
(i) Mineralogical composition
(ii) Semiquantitative analysis
(i) Pulverising of solid samples
(ii) Nondestructive in situ instrumentation
(i) Detection limit above ~5%
(ii) Database is required
Particle-induced X-ray emission/particle-induced gamma-ray emission
PIXE/PIGE
(i) Elemental chemical composition(i) No preparation of solid samples(i) Quantification uncertainty
(ii) Elements of low atomic number are not detected
Mass spectrometry
MS
(i) Isotopic determination(i) Pulverising of solid samples(i) Risk of sample contamination
Gas chromatography/high-performance liquid chromatography/ionic chromatography
GC/HPLC/IC
(i) Separation techniques
(ii) GC/HPLC mainly employed in organic compounds
(iii) IC employed in inorganic compounds
(i) Samples must be solubilised(i) Time-consuming sample preparation
(ii) Requirement of internal and external standards
Laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy
LIBS
(i) Elemental chemical composition
(ii) Qualitative & quantitative analysis
(i) No sample preparation
(ii) In situ instrumentation
(i) Surface destructive technique
(ii) Database is required
Laser-induced fluorescence
LIF
(i) Molecular chemical composition(i) No sample preparation
(ii) In situ instrumentation
(i) Database is required
(ii) Only fluorescence compounds are detected