Prospects for applications of thin films, ion beam sources, plasma, technologies and nanomaterials in the restoration and preservation of archeological objects and artifacts

The study of archeological artifacts is a multi-discipline with formidable aspects and questions regarding date, provenance, sources of raw materials, and technology used in their formation. Metal artifacts from different cultures have attracted attention over the years because of the exquisite quality of the craftwork and the intriguing metallurgic processes developed and employed by their metal craftsmen. The metal smiths of the time knew how to plate copper with silver or gold, how to make some alloys and how to gild stones with gold foils. Plasmas and ion sources and the resulting ions from inert gas can be easily produced and accelerated to controllable energies suitable to employ in the field of cleaning and preservation of archeological objects and perhaps in fine art. Micro and nanoscale thin films of oxides, nitrides, metallic and polymers should be possible to apply to some artifacts surfaces to protect from corrosion and environmental hazards. Specifically, designed nanomaterials can also be applied in the preservation and enhancement of archeological objects and artifacts. Advanced deposition techniques, types and uses of ion beam sources in cleaning of surfaces of objects and archaeological artifacts and deposition of ultra-thin films are described. Some optical characteristics of inorganic thin films will be presented as evidence on why and how they can be used. Evidence of a successful experiment will be presented.