Fraunhofer ITWM and Terahertz Technology Support Cultural Heritage

Fraunhofer-Project: Cultural Heritage at Risk: New Approaches to the Restoration of Works of Art

The preservation of historical art treasures requires not only restorers, but also research and the resulting high-tech solutions. This is especially true for world-famous works of art such as »The Last Supper« by Leonardo da Vinci, which pose additional challenges to museums due to their age. In this project, our researchers are providing support with terahertz technology.

On the initiative of Dr. Michela Palazzo, director of the Museo del Cenacolo Vinciano in Milan, and Dr. Fabio Aramini of the Instituto Superiore per la Conservazione ed il Restauro in Rome, as well as the commitment of Dr. Kaori Fukanaga of the Japanese National Institute of Information and Communications Technology, the Last Supper of Leonardo Da Vinci could be studied by means of millimeter and terahertz wave. Also on board: The experts of the working group around Dr. Fabian Friederich.



Millimeter Waves Increase Penetration Depth

Dr. Fukanaga is considered a pioneer in the field of terahertz measurement technology in the field of cultural heritage and uses terahertz technology primarily to study color layers and near-surface features. Complementary to this, the millimeter wave technology of the Fraunhofer ITWM, with its greater depth of penetration, enables the detection of damage and structural features beneath the mural. The use of these technologies provides information about earlier restoration measures as well as the effects of nearby bomb impacts in times of war, for example, and can contribute significantly to the preservation and repair of corresponding cultural assets.

Fraunhofer Project: Cultural Heritage at Risk – Impacts of Climate Change, Opportunities of Digitalization

Following on from the model project  »Protecting cultural heritage with Fraunhofer innovations«, we are working with 19 other Fraunhofer Institutes and external partners to develop solutions for protecting cultural heritage from the effects of climate change. Particular attention is being paid to digital solution strategies.

Central topics of the project are:

  • Development of a central knowledge platform
  • Acquisition methods for creating digital twins in urban space
  • Preservation of historical materials in times of climate change
  • Socio-economic value of cultural heritage in the digital age

Project Partners:

State Art Collections Dresden (SKD)

Saxon State Library - Dresden State and University Library (SLUB)


Project Duration:

01.09.2019 – 31.10.2022