The Conservation Course Syllabus Pages

Course:Introduction to Laser Cleaning in Conservation
Date Offered:Contact organisers for details
Location:The Conservation Centre, National Museums and Galleries on Merseyside, Whitechapel, Liverpool L1 6HZ (UK)
Instructor:Dr Martin Cooper, Dr Stephen Fowles
Contact:Tel:+44 151 478 4904 Fax:+44 151 478 4990 e-mail:


Course Summary

An Introduction to lasers
Light radiation and the electromagnetic spectrum. The laser process, including stimulated emission and population inversion. Properties of laser radiation. Different types of laser. wavelength and pulse length.

Safety and laser maintenance
Laser safety and interlocks. A practical introduction to laser maintenance. Introductory problem solving. Setting up the laser.

Laser optics and cleaning
Introductory optics including reflection and absorption. Simple ideas of energy conversion to heat and sound. Beam focusing.
First steps in laser cleaning
Practical hands-on use of the laser on a number of test materials. Keeping records and notes of procedure.

The physics of laser cleaning
Removal of dirt by vibration and ablation. Importance of pulse length and energy density. Avoiding damage to objects.
Laser cleaning techniques.
Practical skills in laser cleaning. The conservation approach to laser cleaning. Systematic testing and surface studies.

Practical laser cleaning
Cleaning a variety of objects using the laser. Looking for signs of damage. Laser steam cleaning.

There will be ample opportunity for questions and discussion during the course.

To provide a broad understanding of the use of lasers in conservation. The course concentrates on the practical application of the Nd:YAG laser to the cleaning and conservation of artworks

Intended Audience
Conservators or those with a conservation background who wish to acquire experience in this new field.

Prior Knowledge
An appreciation of conservation is assumed by no scientific background is required.

Teaching Staff
The course is given by specialists from the field of lasers and conservation drawn from the staff of the National Museums and Galleries on Merseyside.

All participants will receive an extensive set of notes providing a summary of the course.

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