Compact Accelerator for Art Analysis

Success Story

Application Domains

How can you tell the difference between a masterpiece and a masterful forgery? A project between CERN and INFN is expected to open up new possibilities to answer this question. The MACHINA collaboration aims to construct a ‘miniaturised’ particle accelerator that will reduce the cost of using the PIXE elemental analysis technique. PIXE is performed in laboratories around the world to study the history and authenticity of artworks. However, these facilities are large and expensive to operate.

The MACHINA device will be much smaller, enabling it to be used by museums and businesses that do not have the resources to access larger facilities. Its small size also means that it can be transported to fixed artworks, or those too delicate to be moved. In April 2018, the project was launched at the Opificio delle Pietre Dure (OPD) in Florence, one of the world’s leading institutes in art restoration.

(Image Credit: Opificio delle Pietre Dure)