Photonics for HERITAGE SITES

Photonics offers many technologies that can benefit heritage sites worldwide. On World Heritage Day, we highlight three famous heritage places in Europe where photonics have played a role towards preservation, authentication and enhancing the visitor experience.

Acropolis (Athens, Greece) 

The Acropolis, an ancient citadel in Athens containing various significant architectural remains, has benefited from the use of photonics in the conservation and restoration of its monuments. For example, laser cleaning technology has been employed to remove pollution and other contaminants from the Parthenon and other structures without causing damage to the ancient marble. This non-invasive technique allows for the safe restoration of these valuable monuments, preserving them for future generations.


The Sistine Chapel (Vatican City, Italy) 

Photonics technology has been employed to protect and enhance the viewing experience of Michelangelo's frescoes in the Sistine Chapel. In 2014, an advanced LED lighting system was installed, which not only provides better illumination but also uses specific wavelengths of light to minimize the risk of damage to the artworks. The system also allows for fine-tuning of the lighting according to the time of day and external light conditions, ensuring optimal viewing while preserving the delicate frescoes.


The Louvre Museum (Paris, France) 

The Louvre is one of the world's largest and most famous museums, and photonics has played a role in both preserving and studying its vast collection of art and artifacts. For instance, researchers have used techniques like multispectral imaging to study and authenticate various works of art. In 2019, the Louvre employed an innovative 3D laser scanning system to create a detailed digital model of the entire museum, which will aid in future restoration and renovation efforts.


Photonics is used for heritage applications in several ways, focusing on preservation, restoration, analysis, and enhancement of cultural heritage sites and artifacts. 

Happy World Heritage Day