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PUMA beamline welcomes its first users!


On February 13th, 2019, Alessandra Gianoncelli (TwinMic beamline at Elettra Sincrotrone, Trieste, Italy) and Simona Raneri (University of Pisa, Department of Earth Sciences, Italy) started the first user experiment on the PUMA (Photons Utilisés pour les MatériauxAnciens in french) beamline. 

Optimized for cultural heritage communities, PUMA opened its first experimental station dedicated to 2D imaging with a hard X-ray micro-focused beam. The analytical techniques available to the users are X-ray fluorescence spectroscopy (XRF), X-ray Absorption Near-Edge Structure (XANES) and X-ray powder diffraction (XRD). 

A. Gianoncelli and S. Raneri are using XRF and XANES at the Iron K-edge and at 18 keV, with a 3 µm beam spot to study two sets of samples, obtained thanks to a collaboration with Prof. G.Barone and Prof. P. Mazzoleni from the University of Catania (Italy).

The first ones are black gloss wares from the Gela Museum in Sicily. Mapping the chemical composition of the fragments with XRF and XANES will help them to get new hints on the manufacturing technique, and the origin of these artifacts made during the 6-5thcentury B.C. among different Mediterranean production centers (from Greece to colonies in South Italy). 

The second ones are polychrome terracottas of the same period, from the Archeological Park of Colosseo in Rome, excavated in Palatine and Roman Foro (Rome, Italy). The XANES and XRF data collected with the microbeam will provide a better understanding of the use of pigments and of the painting techniques, allowing to suggest the attribution of the artifacts to Etruscan, Greek or Greek Sicilian painters and draw the possible circulation of goods, artisans and technological routine in Central Italy.

A. Gianoncelli and S. Raneri setting up one of their samples in the experimental hutch of the PUMA beamline

With the opening of PUMA, A. Gianoncelli and S. Raneri have now access to techniques and set-ups complementary to the ones they can use on the TwinMic beamline at Elettra.

And they are the first of a probably long list of cultural heritage PUMA users!