Andor Camera brings the sound of ancient wind instruments to life


IKon-L CCD Sensor Delivers Exceptional Details Using Neutron Tomography and X-rays

A set of 13 16th century Italian wind instruments have been brought to life thanks to the unique skills of specialist Swiss restorers and the high sensitivity and dynamic range of the Andor iKon-L CCD camera. The resulting intensely detailed 3D models of the composite wood, metal and leather structures provided valuable insight into the construction methods of the original luthiers and were used to guide their restoration in Basel, Switzerland.

Following the discovery of the instruments in the library of the Sacred Convent in Assisi, Italy, each was subjected to non-invasive and non-destructive X-ray and neutron beam tomography and radiography at SINQ (Swiss Spallation Neutron Source) of the Paul Scherrer Institute) in Switzerland. An Andor iKon-L CCD camera and scintillator captured the signals in the neutron and X-ray configurations to characterize and model the original construction and internal structure of the instruments, and list the damage and deterioration caused by the passage time.

“The Andor iKon-L’s large sensor offers exceptional resolution, sensitivity and dynamic range, providing new and accurate conformational information on these valuable historical musical artefacts,” says Dr Giulia Festa of the Department of Physics of the University of Rome. “Information on construction techniques is of great importance for sound quality. In particular, we can see in detail how the finger holes were shaped, the adjustments made in the design of the main borehole to improve the tonal quality of the instruments, and the deterioration that has occurred over hundreds of years. . Using this data, we can now reconstruct for the first time how they would have looked on the first read. “

Frontal and lateral neutron and x-ray radiographs were performed for each instrument and neutron and x-ray tomograms on the transverse streamer were also performed. The combination of neutron and x-ray techniques, with their complementary penetrating powers, made it possible to analyze the internal structure, in particular the structure of the finger holes and the main borehole, with neutron characterization showing the effect deformations of the wood and providing the wood fiber displacement data.

According to Antoine Varagnat d’Andor, an Oxford Instruments company, “The work of Dr Festa and his team, as well as the skills of scientists and restorers at SINQ, show that the combined use of neutron and X-ray techniques provides unique information on the conformation of historical musical instruments. We are proud that the Andor iKon-L high performance camera can play a role in this effort and help better define future restoration techniques.

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