News from the Chair

Trailblazing Findings on the Properties of Daguerreotypes Presented in Research Conducted by The Metropolitan Museum of Art and The University of New Mexico

Ivan Deutsch

The Metropolitan Museum of Art (The Met) and The University of New Mexico today announced the groundbreaking findings of a two-year study of the plasmonic properties of daguerreotypes. Using atomic force microscopy and scanning electron microscopy, together with numerical calculations, the team of scientists from The Met and UNM, in collaboration with Century Darkroom, Toronto was able to determine how the light scattered by the metallic nanoparticles on the surface of a daguerreotype determines the characteristics of its image, such as shade and color.

“The team at the University of New Mexico embarked on this study to achieve a better understanding of the mechanisms that give rise to the optical response of daguerreotypes and to contribute to the development of protocols for preserving these fragile artifacts,” said Alejandro Manjavacas, assistant professor, UNM Department of Physics and Astronomy. “Thanks to the fantastic teamwork between scientists from both the cultural and scientific communities we were able to accomplish what we set out to do.”

University of New Mexico
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