Leandro Sottili

During my studies I have focused my interest on experimental physics and its application to other disciplines, in particular heritage and environmental sciences, working in several laboratories around Europe (e.g. the Ion Beam Centre at the HZDR, Germany, and the Isotope mass Separator On-Line facility at CERN, Switzerland). After my bachelor’s degree in physics, in 2016 I completed a Master of Science’s Programme in Nuclear and Particle Physics at the University of Jyväskylä (Finland), developing a detector array for nuclear spectroscopy purposes. Further, I achieved another master’s degree in physics at the University of Florence working with Ion Beam Analysis (IBA) and their applications on atmospheric aerosol.
My research project conducted during the Tech4Culture PhD Programme aimed at developing a device combining a multi-technique analysis, usually employed in large-scale facilities as accelerator laboratories, and the transportability of the instrumentation, to support the study of works of art in conservation centres or museums. It was developed within the framework of the INFN-CHNet collaboration, the network of the Italian Institute of Nuclear Physics dedicated to cultural heritage.

The techniques combined are three in total: two spectroscopic techniques, X-ray fluorescence (XRF) and X-ray induced luminescence (XRL), and digital radiography (DR), one of the most popular and helpful imaging techniques in heritage science. XRF provides information on the elemental composition of a work of art, and therefore on its production technique and materials. XRIL can be used to provenance studies of manufacts, by studying the rocks of which they are made of. DR is used to obtain information on the inner structure, the conservation state, and the characteristics of artworks. They are all based on the interaction of an X-ray beam with the artefacts, but usually each one has a dedicated facility.
The Movable Device for in SiTu Analysis, MODESTA, developed in this research project, is the first multi-technique device offering three techniques in a single instrument. It was developed in-house assembling the measuring set-up, the motorised system, and the electronic parts needed. A first characterisation of the instrument was done, and preliminary tests were carried out on real objects. Moreover, thanks to the expertise within the INFN-CHNet collaboration, the feasibility of performing scanning XRF and computed tomography techniques was proved.

As a side activity, in the framework of the INFN-CHNet collaboration, I conducted the analysis of XRF data on different applications, from XVII century furniture to XVI century paintings. Results allowed the characterisation of the painting palette and the technique of the artists and were published in the following articles.

L. Sottili, L. Giuntini, A. Mazzinghi, et al. The Role of PIXE and XRF in Heritage Science: The INFN-CHNet LABEC Experience. Appl. Sci. 2022, 12, 6585. https://doi.org/10.3390/app12136585
L. Sottili, L. Guidorzi, A. Mazzinghi, et al. INFN-CHNet at work: X-ray fluorescence analyses on works of art at the CCR “La Venaria Reale”. Il Nuovo Cimento C. 2022, 212. DOI: 10.1393/ncc/i2022-22212-7e
L. Sottili, L. Guidorzi, A. Mazzinghi et al.; Macro X-ray fluorescence analysis of XVI-XVII century Italian paintings and preliminary test for developing a combined fluorescence apparatus with digital radiography; ACTA IMEKO; 2022; 10.3390/app11031197
L. Sottili L. Guidorzi, A. Mazzinghi et al. The Importance of Being Versatile: INFN-CHNet MA-XRF Scanner on Furniture at the CCR “La Venaria Reale”. Applied Sciences. 2021; 11(3):119
L. Sottili, L. Guidorzi, A. Mazzinghi et al. INFN-CHNet meets CCR La Venaria Reale: First results. In Proceedings of the 2020 IMEKO TC-4 International Conference on Metrology for Archaeology and Cultural Heritage 2020, Trento, Italy, 22–24October 2020; pp. 507–511.

Tech4Culture Fellow – Call 2 (2019)

Supervisor: Alessandro Re, Physics Department