Glasgow Polyomics develop new “minimally destructive” technique for authentication of ancient documents

Issued: Fri, 14 Sep 2018 11:59:00 BST

A recent collaboration between Dr Karl Burgess, Glasgow Polyomics, PhD student James Newton, Infection, Immunity and Inflammation, Dr Simon Rogers, School of Computing, and Professor Gerard Carruthers, School of Critical Studies, looked to address the issue that using traditional mass spectrometry (MS) methods are destructive when authenticating historical works of art.

Focusing on the works of Scottish poet Robert Burns, the team mixed old and contemporary ink recipes with high resolution MS, and were able to match individual documents to ink signatures and therefore differentiate originals from fakes. This technique left no visible damage to original materials and is considered a breakthrough in the analysis of contemporary inks and historical manuscripts.