Historys ancient secrets to be unlocked by new research facility in UK

February 16th, 2009 - 3:16 pm ICT by ANI  

Washington, Feb 16 (ANI): A new research facility opening later this year at the Diamond synchrotron in the UK is set to revolutionize world heritage science, by uncovering ancient secrets that have been locked away for centuries.

For the first time ever, cultural heritage scientists will be able to scan and image large relics and artifacts up to two tonnes in weight in incredible precision.

They will no longer be restricted to examining small items.

According to Dr Jen Hiller, Diamonds resident archaeologist, the UK synchrotron will open a powerful new experimental station this autumn.

Called the Joint Engineering, Environmental and Processing (JEEP) beamline, it will carry out experiments in a variety of areas including the growing field of world heritage science.

Heritage scientists across the world are able to apply to use this unique beamline to delve deep inside precious ancient artifacts to unravel their secrets in a non-invasive way. Never before has it been possible to scan and image such large relics with such precision, Dr Hiller explained.

Now is the time for researchers in this field to maximise this unique opportunity and consider how JEEP can help to advance their studies, she added.

Thanks to the intensity of the X-rays produced by JEEP and its flexible space, researchers will be able to obtain a much higher resolution image, down to the scale of a few microns, and in significantly less time than the existing methods. we are talking about a matter of minutes as opposed to a number of hours, said Dr Hiller.

This finely detailed picture will enable scientists to see right inside an artifact helping them to obtain crucial information to piece together the story of its origin and history, she added.

According to Dr Janet Ambers, a scientist from the Conservation and Scientific Research Department at the British Museum, We are very excited about having access to this innovative tool because it will allow us to look at our artifacts in a completely new way.

The versatility of JEEP will open up exciting new opportunities in many fields of science due to its extremely high flux, high energy X-ray beam and its two complementary experimental areas, said Dr Michael Drakopoulos, the Principal Beamline Scientist for JEEP.

Its fantastic that JEEP can help not only towards major advances in the environmental sciences and the world of engineering but also can have an extremely positive impact within the field of world heritage science, he added. (ANI)

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