Preprint Open Access
We present a multi-purpose, dual-mode imaging method in the Mid-Wavelength Infrared (MWIR) range (from 3 µm to 5 µm) for a more efficient nondestructive analysis of artworks. Using a setup based on a MWIR thermal camera and multiple radiation sources, two radiometric image datasets are acquired in different acquisition modalities, the image in quasi-reflectance mode (TQR) and the thermal sequence in emission mode. Here, the advantages are: the complementarity of the information; the use of the quasi-reflectance map for calculating the emissivity map; the use of TQR map for a referentiation to the visible of the thermographic images. The concept of the method is presented, the practical feasibility is demonstrated through a custom imaging setup, the potentiality for the nondestructive analysis is shown on a notable application to cultural heritage. The method has been used as experimental tool in support of the restoration of the mural painting “Monocromo” by Leonardo da Vinci. Feedback from the operators and a comparison with some conventional diagnostic techniques is also given to underline the novelty and potentiality of the method.