The potential of UV-VIS-NIR absorption spectroscopy in glass studies

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference paper

15 Citations (Scopus)


Absorption spectroscopy is the technique that measures the absorption of radiation as a function of wavelength, due to its interaction with the material. During a research project funded by our home university, we were able to investigate the possibilities of this technique to study ancient glasses. One of our main conclusions is that UV-VIS-NIR absorption spectroscopy is especially suited to characterize colored artifacts in terms of composition and furnace conditions. Moreover, for naturally colored window glasses, we have shown that this technique allows us to classify fragments based on differences in iron impurity levels. It is a semi-quantitative analysis tool that can be applied for a first-line analysis of (large) glass collections. Thanks to the commercial available portable instruments, these measurements can be performed at relative high speed and this in-situ if necessary.

To illustrate the possibilities of this technique, we describe in this paper two case-studies. In a first test-case we analyze 63 naturally colored window glasses and demonstrate how groups with different iron concentrations can be identified by calculating the absorption edge position from the measured optical spectrum. In a second case-study 8 modern naturally colored and 31 intentionally colored Roman glass fragments are the point of focus. For these samples we first estimate which samples are potentially fabricated under the same furnace conditions. This is done based on the calculated color values. Finally we identify the type of applied colorants.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProc. SPIE Integrated approaches to the study of historical glass-IAS12,
Place of PublicationUSA
Number of pages1
ISBN (Print)978-0-8194-9104-6
Publication statusPublished - 2012
EventThe International Society for Optical Engineering - Brussels, Belgium
Duration: 16 Apr 201219 Apr 2012


ConferenceThe International Society for Optical Engineering
Abbreviated titleSPIE




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