Rutherford Backscattering Spectrometry

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This Ion Beam Analysis method consists in determining, from the energy spectrum of elastic scattering at backward angles of accelerated particles (generally protons) the concentration of various elements at the surface layer and/or measurement of the thickness of this layer. Rutherford backscattering spectrometry (RBS) is named after Lord Ernest Rutherford, a British physicist who supervised a series of experiments carried out by Hans Geiger and Ernest Marsden between 1909 and 1914 studying the scattering of alpha particles through metal foils The method finds applications in: the determination of elements concentration profiles in patina layer on metallic objects (bronze, silver, lead, etc), the study of the alteration processes of lead objects (papal bulls), and the control of their conservation conditions using lead reference samples. This technique is also one among others for the study of the corrosivity of atmosphere in museums, historical buildings, archives, repositories…, using metal foils and/or various sensors.

Synonyms and related terms


Additional information

  • E. Ioannidou, D. Bourgarit, T. Calligaro, JC. Dran, M. Dubus, J. Salomon, P. Walter, RBS and NRA with external beams for archaeometric applications. Proc. IBA 14 Dresden (Jul 1999), in NIM-B 161-163 (2000) 730-736
  • L. Espie, M. Aucouturier, Surface modification issues in Art, Surface Engineering 17 (2001) 3, 205-216
  • M. Dubus, I. Colson, JC. Dran, E. Ioannidou, B. Moignard, J. Salomon, P. Walter, Elemental and structural analysis of corroded lead seals from the XIIIth. to XVth. centuries: preliminary study. Proc. 6th International Conference on "Non-Destructive Testing and Microanalysis for the Diagnostics and Conservation of the Cultural and Environmental Heritage". Vol. 2. Roma, 17-20 (May 1999), 1741-1750
  • JC. Dran, M. Dubus, B. Moignard, J. Salomon, RBS analysis of thin metallic layers used to monitor museum environment, Proc. Research for Protection, Conservation and Enhancement of Cultural Heritage Opportunities for European Enterprises, Strasbourg, (Nov 2000)
  • M. Dubus, M. Aucouturier, JC. Dran, O. Guillon, B. Moignard, L. Pichon, J. Salomon, Corrosion monitoring for preventive conservation of the metallic cultural heritage, Proc. ICS Conservation Science 2002, Edinburgh, (May 2002)
  • M. Dubus, M. Aucouturier, S. Colinart, I. Colson, JC. Dran, M. Gunn, AM. Laurent, M. Leroy, R. May, B. Moignard, J. Salomon, P. Walter, Evaluation de la corrosion du plomb aux Archives Nationales de France, Proc. 13th ICOM-CC triennial meeting, Rio de Janeiro, James & James: London (2002)
  • M. Dubus, M. Aucouturier, B. Moignard, Atmospheric corrosion monitoring of silver in museums, Proc. Indoor Air quality, Norwich, (27-28/04/2003)