The Laboratory is divided into five micro-structures, each of which is occupied in a specific phase of the study of the artwork and its specified chemical-physical characterisation.
The Non Destructive Tests micro-structure focuses on the first phase of study and includes all the analyses that do not require a sample (based therefore on interaction between radiation and material). In particular, it carries out analyses in induced ultraviolet fluorescence, photography in infrared reflectography at various wavelengths, radiographic imaging and x-ray fluorescence analyses.
The Inorganic Analyses microstructure carries out chemical and physical studies of materials of an inorganic nature present in the artistic object, such as natural pigments and syntheses, matrices of varying chemical nature, minerals, rocks and deposits. In particular, stratigraphic analyses are carried out using scanning electron microscope, as well as analyses of trace metals and ionic chromatography. The micro-structure also has the task of profiling a given material, from a chemical and morphological point of view, studying alterations caused by the passage of time.
The chemical study of materials of an organic nature is the competence of the Organic Analyses micro-structure. From binders (proteins, polysaccharides and esters) to natural and synthetic varnishes; from overlying substances applied originally or during restoration, to natural colorants. From a chemical and molecular point of view, the structure is responsible for profiling the material present by studying the alterations is has undergone over time or as a result of reactions between the different materials present.
The Biological Analyses micro-structure is occupied with the study of all that relates to the “biological” world of cultural heritage, such as patinas and attacks of a biological nature present in the artefact, morphological analysis and the biological identification of agents of infestation, and fibre analysis of threads and fabrics to identify their nature and state of conservation. It also supervises the implementation of environmental monitoring systems in order to evaluate the presence or otherwise of infesting agents.
Finally, the Research and Development micro-structure intervenes in all areas of the Laboratory's research, developing and putting into practice new methods of material analysis through the use of the most innovative technologies. Its research activities include the synthesis and relative characterisation of natural materials, the development of nanotechnologies to be used in the formation of various restoration products, and the creation of data banks relating to organic materials of different types.