Ion beam analysis of golden threads from Romanian medieval textiles

Z. I. Balta, L. Csedreki, E. Furu, I. Cretu, R. Huszánk, M. Lupu, Z. Török, Z. Kertész, Z. Szikszai

Research output: Article

10 Citations (Scopus)


In this study, metal threads from Romanian religious embroideries and precious velvet brocades dated from 15th to 18th century were analyzed by using IBA methods (PIXE and RBS) which, in comparison to the traditional analytical techniques (XRF, EDS), allowed the detection of their structures and accurate identification of the trace elements (detection limits of few tens of ppm). PIXE results confirmed that both types of the metal threads studied - wires and strips - have layered structures being made of fine silver, refined by cupellation, and gilded most probably with pure gold, and not of Au-Ag alloy, or gilded Ag-Cu alloy or Au-Ag-Cu alloy, as resulted from the previously performed SEM-EDS analysis. Trace elements of historical interest like lead, mercury and bismuth have been also possible to be detected by PIXE. The resulting elemental maps allowed us to identify the areas from which the metal thread structure and quantitative composition could be accurately determined. RBS measurements revealed that the gilding layer is separated from the silver bulk by an interface layer resulting through atomic diffusion of silver into the gold, which lead to the conclusion that the methods used for gilding were probably either the diffusion bonding or the fire gilding. The gilding layers thicknesses were estimated by PIXE with the GUPIX software and also determined from RBS measurements.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)285-290
Number of pages6
JournalNuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research, Section B: Beam Interactions with Materials and Atoms
Publication statusPublished - jan. 1 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nuclear and High Energy Physics
  • Instrumentation

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