Is there evidence for change to collagen within parchment samples after exposure to an X-ray dose during high contrast X-ray microtomography? a multi technique investigation
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The potential use of high contrast X-ray microtomography (XMT) for the reading of fragile historic documents without the need to physically unravel them is a new analytical imaging development in the field of conservation however, it is important to first assess if there is any evidence of change in the parchment structure during scanning by XMT. Modern and historic parchment samples were exposed to X-rays using the high contrast XMT equipment. Attenuated Total Reflection Fourier Transform Infra-red Spectroscopy (ATR-FTIR), SDS-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (SDS-PAGE), Near-infrared Spectroscopy (NIR) and X-ray diffraction (XRD) were utilised to investigate whether there is any evidence for change to collagen within parchment samples after exposure to XMT. Results show that the inherent differences in the parchment structure due to the material source, production and storage appear to produce larger differences than that due to the exposure to XMT. This indicates that XMT may be a suitable technique for data recovery from parchment samples that cannot be unrolled.