Iron speciation in soda-lime-silica glass: a comparison of Xanes and UV-vis-NIR spectroscopy

Andrea Ceglia, Gert Nuyts, Wendy Meulebroeck, Simone Cagno, Alberta Silvestri, Alfonso Zoleo, Karin Nys, Koen Janssens, Hugo Thienpont, Herman Terryn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

26 Citations (Scopus)


Scientific analyses of ancient glasses have been carried out for many years using elemental chemical analysis. However, it is known that the control of the redox conditions in the glass melt has a strong implication on the final hue of glass because it affects Fe2+/SFe. Therefore an increasing number of studies on the redox conditions have been published in recent years by means of synchrotron based Xray absorption spectroscopy. This is a technique which is not easily accessible and requires dedicated facilities. In this paper we describe an alternative approach by means of optical absorption spectroscopy. We synthesised 10 soda-lime-silica glasses with known redox conditions and iron concentration to calibrate the absorption at 1100 nm as a function of Fe2+ concentration. The linear extinction coefficient was also determined. These glasses were also studied by means of X-ray Absorption Near Edge Structure (XANES) spectroscopy. Electron paramagnetic resonance spectroscopy was additionally used as an ancillary method to verify the quality of our data. Furthermore 28 samples from real archaeological samples were analysed by XANES and optical spectroscopy as a case study. The Fe2+/SFe values obtained were compared and demonstrated that the two techniques were in good agreement with each other. Optical spectroscopy can be applied in situ with moderate sample preparation to determine the concentration of Fe2+. To investigate the redox conditions, especially as a first screening approach, this methodology is an important tool to take into consideration before applying more sophisticated techniques such as XANES, which is more elaborate and requires high-tech resources.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1552-1561
JournalJournal of Analytical Atomic Spectrometry
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2015



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