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Photophysical and Chemical Properties at the Solid State of Madder Lake from the Modern Reproductions of an Ancient Alchemical Recipe

  • Author(s): Mukhopadhyay, Moupi
  • Advisor(s): Kakoulli, Ioanna
  • et al.
Abstract

This research considers the technical knowledge of the Greek-Roman society and investigates operational sequences (cha�ne operatoire) for the production of madder lake through the application of materials science and engineering principles and methods. In this project, madder lake is re-created based on ancient recipes provided in an alchemical manual and characterized using a multi-scale and multi-analytical approach. Analytical imaging combined with surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS) and fiber optics reflectance spectroscopy (FORS) are performed for the characterization of the microstructure, photophysical and chemical properties of the recreated madder lake pigment and how these are influenced by factors such as processing and chromophore ratios in the source as well as the final product. Probing the production technology of madder lake through the application of materials science and engineering principles and methods, this research further interrogates the extent to which the raw materials, processing and the environment reflect, shape, or modify the properties and functions of this ancient pigment.

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