Our Dating, Characterization and Imaging Techniques
Techniques adapted to your problems and materials
CIRAM has subsidiaries, joint ventures and partnerships in Europe, the USA and Asia to meet your analysis and sampling needs. To obtain reliable, accurate and relevant results, our scientists follow recognized analytical protocols and international standards.
Carbon-14 dating, thermoluminescence dating, isotope analysis, microanalysis, or scientific imaging, discover our analytical techniques dedicated to the art market, archaeology and the biosourced industry.
Request a quote
CIRAM, world leader in dating and archaeometry
Radio-carbon (carbon-14) dating is one of the main expertises of CIRAM laboratories. Thanks to our scientists, we can date and authenticate your works of art, archaeological artifacts, and analyze your biobased industrial products for certification.
For heated materials such as brick or terracotta, it is possible to determine the age of the last firing with thermoluminescence analysis.
Carbon-14 dating, a must-have analysis to date your objects
Radiocarbon (C14) dating is the main method used to date organic matter. Upon the death of the organism, the amount of carbon-14 will steadily decrease. This is how our scientists accurately estimate the age of death of an individual or organism.
Radiocarbon dating also allows us to measure the percentage of biobased material in an industrial product, such as biofuels, cosmetics, paints, resins, biopolymers, detergents, food processing...
Thermoluminescence dating for ceramic, porcelain, earthenware objects
Our scientists in the laboratory are able to perform and interpret the results of thermoluminescence dating.
It is possible to date a work of art or archaeological artifact using thermoluminescence. TL/OSL will date the last firing of the materials. The energy measured during the thermoluminescence test is proportional to the age of the ceramic. The older the object, the more luminescence revealed by heating (TL) or illumination (OSL) will be important.
Material characterization, meticulous laboratory analysis
Material characterization is based on micro-analysis, metallographic analysis or isotopic analysis depending on the nature of the materials and problems posed. Discover our different techniques of materials characterization.
Microanalysis to understand materials
Microanalysis allows us to observe the material and define its chemical composition. There are a large number of techniques used such as electron microscopy (SEM-EDX), infrared spectrometry (FTIR), chromatography, isotope analysis (IRMS), Raman.... spectrometry
Microanalysis is used on works of art, but also archaeological artifacts. Wood, metal, ceramics or even painting, our field of application is immense to answer your problems.
Metallography, the science of metal
Bronze, gold, iron, brass or silver, the characterization of metals goes through metallography. Using techniques such as scanning electron microscopy (SEM) or even thermoluminescence testing, we can obtain valuable information about metals.
Metallography offers a comprehensive approach to characterizing metals. Our scientists interpret the information to define the composition, degree of corrosion, and origin of corrosion to estimate the time of manufacture of the metal.
The various spectrometry techniques
CIRAM also offers analytical methods such as inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry and inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry.
These techniques can provide valuable information regarding dating or characterization of materials.
Isotopic analysis is particularly used in archaeology and in many industrial fields such as plastics, food processing or biofuels.
We regularly analyze isotopes such as carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, hydrogen or even strontium according to your problems.
For archaeology, isotopic analyses give information on the diet of individuals and possible population movements. For industry, isotopic analyses can reveal adulteration or define geographic provenance.
Imaging with state-of-the-art equipment
X-ray radiography, infrared reflectography, and ultraviolet fluorescence allow for the analysis of pictorial works in general, and paintings in particular. Using these techniques, it is possible to reveal preparatory drawings, repentirs, repaints, hidden signatures or inscriptions.
X-ray imaging can be used directly on site to obtain a real-time image and adapt viewing angles. This technique allows to better understand the objects, to observe their internal structure and to verify the state of conservation in situ.
Other methods in addition
CIRAM adapts to your objects and your problems, we also use sciences such as xylology and anthracology for the characterization of wooden objects. This method is used to define the geographical origin of wood.