London, Dec 1 : Newly developed scanners would be able to raise an alarm when ancient manuscripts deteriorate and need to be restored.
Normally, chemical tests are used to estimate the quality of paper and determine what treatment it needs. But, this process destroys up to half a page of the work, and the tests are time-consuming.
A near-infrared scanner would provide the same information in 1 second, and without damaging the document, restoration expert Jan Wouters of the Getty Conservation Institute, Los Angeles, told New Scientist.
These recently developed scanners are capable of shining light onto a document and recording and interpreting what wavelengths it absorbs, to reveal details such as acidity and the length of cellulose molecules, which are indicators of fragility.