Applications of NMR spectroscopy in cultural heritage science

Molly Wagner, Jaclyn Catalano, Valeria Di Tullio, Roberta Pigliapochi, Nicholas Zumbulyadis, Silvia A. Centeno, Cecil Dybowski

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy has advanced our understanding of cultural heritage objects. Solution NMR, solid state NMR, unilateral NMR, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and other MR techniques have been used on a wide variety of materials such as stone, ceramics, paintings, biological remains, paper, wood, textiles, resins, gums, and synthetic materials. This review highlights NMR studies that provide structural and chemical identification, moisture content and distribution, uncovers artistic techniques, determines geographical origins, identifies constituent materials of an object and helps to determine the best cleaning or treatment method for conservation. In addition, physical and chemical transformations and structural modifications due to deterioration of an object can be monitored by NMR methods, and this information provides conservators with clues as to the most appropriate methods of preservation of a unique artifact. With the continued development of NMR pulse sequences, probes and sensors, the sensitivity and utility of NMR spectroscopy in cultural heritage continues to grow.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationComprehensive Inorganic Chemistry III, Third Edition
Number of pages49
ISBN (Electronic)9780128231531
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2023


  • Conservation
  • Cultural heritage
  • MRI
  • NMR
  • Spectroscopy


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