Multi-technique characterization of gold electroplating on silver substrates for cultural heritage applications

I. Ortega-Feliu, F.J. Ager, C. Roldán, M. Ferretti, D. Juanes, S. Scrivano, M.A. Respaldiza, L. Ferrazza, I. Traver, M.L. Grilli

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Abstract

This work presents a detailed study of a series of silver plates gilded via electroplating techniques in which the characteristics of the coating gold layers are investigated as a function of the electroplating variables (voltage, time, anode surface and temperature). Some reference samples were coated by radio frequency sputtering in order to compare gold layer homogeneity and effective density. Surface analysis was performed by means of atomic and nuclear techniques (SEM-EDX, EDXRF, PIXE and RBS) to obtain information about thickness, homogeneity, effective density, profile concentration of the gold layers and Au-Ag diffusion profiles. The gold layer thickness obtained by PIXE and EDXRF is consistent with the thickness obtained by means of RBS depth profiling. Electroplated gold mass thickness increases with electroplating time, anode area and voltage. However, electrodeposited samples present rough interfaces and gold layer effective densities lower than the nominal density of Au (19.3 g/cm3), whereas sputtering produces uniform layers with nominal density. These analyses provide valuable information to historians and curators and can help the restoration process of gold-plated silver objects.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)318 - 323
Number of pages6
JournalNuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research, Section B: Beam Interactions with Materials and Atoms
Volume406
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2017

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All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Nuclear and High Energy Physics
  • Instrumentation

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