LACONA: past, present, and future?

  • Asmus J
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The introduction of laser technologies into the field of art conservation and the formation of the associated professional society, LACONA, have paralleled similar events that took place in laser application to the entertainment, science, manufacturing, military ordnance, communication, and medical disciplines (to name a few). At the time of the establishment of LACONA, numerous conservation applications for lasers had been shown possible. During the early years of the society, many papers presented at this forum reported on projects that had developed some of these into practical conservation tools. In many cases, this involved producing models for the laser processes, advancing the associated laser technologies, or determining optimum laser parameters for particular circumstances. In recent years, maturing research reported here has focused on case histories, refinements and adaptations in technique, and the broadening of databases. Much remains to be accomplished along these veins and will continue to be reported in our future assemblies. However, the success of LACONA suggests a potential for a much broader role of service within the art-conservation community. Specifically, there are numerous new and emerging technologies that could be useful in conservation. Scientifically, they have a great deal of commonality with laser technology, except for their operation outside of the visible portion of the electromagnetic spectrum. A few of these are surface penetrating radar, monopulse radar, radar tomography, millimeter wave imaging, portable and free-induction nuclear magnetic resonance, and X-ray backscatter imaging. In addition, there are laser technologies such as photoacoustic spectroscopy and photodynamic chemistry that hold promise for conservation science, but have yet to be applied. Consequently, this may be a propitious time to consider opening up LACONA to incorporate such allied methodologies in order to encourage the continuing vitality and relevance of the organization to art conservation.

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  • John F. Asmus

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