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Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) for the conservation and interpretation of vitreous materials in museums collections

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  • Full or part time
    Prof Liang
  • Application Deadline
    No more applications being accepted
  • Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

Optical coherence tomography (OCT) is a cutting-edge imaging technique that produces 3D images of surface and subsurface microstructure of transparent and semi-transparent materials. It is a powerful tool for the study of museum objects as it can produce images of cross-sections without contact with the object. Information on the composition of vitreous materials will also be collected using spectroscopic techniques and combined with the OCT results, thus giving an overall view of the objects in 3D. In the proposed project, you will research into an effective method of extracting and combining the structural, chemical and optical properties from the OCT and various spectroscopy data for studying manufacturing techniques and degradation processes in vitreous museum artefacts. The project will then focus on different case studies at the British Museum.

The British Museum has a collection of some 230 Limoges painted enamels. These are known to suffer from localised deterioration and this is often limited to specific colours, particularly blue, mulberry and purple. As the deterioration of Limoges enamels is poorly understood, there are currently no effective treatments for Limoges enamels. OCT investigation in 3D subsurface microstructure will allow a better understanding of the deterioration processes, which is a key step towards devising remedial conservation treatments. Another case study will involve determining the manufacturing techniques of ancient Egyptian faience. The British Museum has a large collection of ancient Egyptian Faience spanning the period from the second millennium BC to the fourth century AD. The examination of the microstructure using OCT will be used to distinguish between different manufacturing techniques.

The outcomes of this project will be of great relevance to other cultural heritage institutions holding vitreous objects in their collections.

Applications are invited for an AHRC Collaborative Doctoral Partnership PhD studentship, to be undertaken at Nottingham Trent University (School of Science & Technology) and the British Museum (Department of Scientific Research). This studentship will be jointly supervised by Professor Haida Liang at Nottingham Trent University and Dr Capucine Korenberg at the British Museum. The studentship is for a three-year (full-time) project entitled ‘Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) for the conservation and interpretation of vitreous materials in museums collections’, to commence on 1 October 2017. The student will also be offered an additional (remunerated) six-month placement in conservation science at the British Museum during the PhD to further develop and expand their skills. The student will need to spend concentrated periods of time both at Nottingham Trent University and at the British Museum. This is an interdisciplinary project involving close collaboration between physicists, conservators and conservation scientists. Both partners and the Collaborative Doctoral Partner (CDP) consortium will provide opportunities for training and career development.

Applicants must have a good first degree (usually a minimum 2:1) or a Masters degree (or other equivalent experience) in physics, chemistry, archaeological science, conservation science, heritage science, materials science or a related physical science discipline. They should be highly motivated individuals with a keen interest in conservation or archaeology. Students must also meet the eligibility requirements of the UK Research Councils for graduate students.

The minimum English language proficiency requirement for candidates who have not undertaken a higher degree at a UK HE institution is IELTS 6.5 (with a minimum of 6.0 in all skills). International applicants are normally not eligible to apply for this studentship.

Funding Notes

The full studentship for students with UK residency includes fees and a stipend of £14,553 per annum plus £550 p.a. additional stipend payment for Collaborative Doctoral students for 3 years. In addition, the Student Development Fund (equivalent to 0.5 years of stipend payments) is also available to support the cost. Students with EU residency are eligible for a fees-only studentship award which does not cover the stipend. The British Museum will provide up to £1000 a year to cover travel and other costs the student incurs in travelling to carry out research at the Museum and other locations.

How good is research at Nottingham Trent University in General Engineering?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 14.40

Research output data provided by the Research Excellence Framework (REF)

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