Nondestructive techniques have seen successful growth in the last few years, and, among them, optical ones are widespread and extremely well received in the field of painting diagnostics because of their effectiveness and safety. At present, many techniques for nondestructive investigations of paintings are available; nevertheless, none of them is suitable for a quantitative characterization of varnish. However, varnish removal, either partial or complete, is a fundamental part of the cleaning process, which is an essential step in painting conservation. This critical process has been carried out, up to now, without the possibility of any nondestructive measurement for assessing the actual varnish thickness, but with microscopic observation of a detached microfragment. Optical coherence tomography (OCT) is a noninvasive technique that is well established for biomedical applications. In this work, we present a novel application of OCT to measure the varnish film thickness for painting diagnostics.
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