PhD CASE studentship: Laser Cleaning of Artworks

The University of Manchester - Physics and Astronomy

The University of Manchester

Anticipated start date for project: September 2017

A PhD CASE studentship is available starting from September 2017 in Photon Physics, the School of Physics and Astronomy and the Photon Science Institute, University of Manchester.  The project is sponsored by Lynton Conservation, a division of Lynton Lasers Ltd.

Closing date for applications: The application process remains open until a suitably qualified candidate is successfully recruited.

Project Title: Laser Cleaning of Artworks

The first laser cleaning tests on artworks were carried out in Venice during the 1970s when Asmus and colleagues used a pulsed ruby laser to selectively remove hard black pollution encrustations from badly decayed marble sculpture.  The control offered by laser cleaning enabled conservators to gently remove unwanted layers without damaging the surface of the sculpture, in a way not possible using mechanical or chemical methods of cleaning.  The use of laser cleaning has become more commonplace during the last fifteen years with the Q-switched Nd:YAG laser (1064nm) becoming a valuable tool in sculpture and object conservation.  Many of the world’s leading museums now have access to laser cleaning technology.  More recently, interest has grown in the possibilities offered by the Er:YAG laser (2940nm), particularly in the area of removing unwanted layers (dirt, pollution, adhesives, paint layers) from extremely fragile gilded surfaces, such as antique frames, furniture and metal sculpture.  A thorough evaluation of Er:YAG laser treatment is now required, in order to better understand the mechanisms involved and the effects on the artwork’s surface, to provide the conservation community with the confidence required to accept this new technique.  This will include a comparison with short and long pulse 1064nm laser radiation and other methods of treatment.

This PhD provides an exciting opportunity for a researcher to play a key role in advancing the conservation of our cultural heritage.  He/she will work closely with Lynton Conservation, a division of Lynton Lasers Ltd. (a spin-out company from the University of Manchester), which has been one of the leading suppliers of laser cleaning systems to the conservation field for over twenty years and counts many of the world’s leading museums among its customers.  The supervisory team will include Dr. Mark Dickinson from the University and Dr. Martin Cooper, one of the leading figures within the laser conservation field.  The successful candidate will be expected to develop excellent working relationships with customers of Lynton Lasers Ltd.  This is likely to include the world-famous British Museum and the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum (Boston, USA), among others.

Applicants should have or expect to receive a 2i or first class degree in Physics. Full funding is available for UK students.  Applications should be made via:

Contact Dr. Mark Dickinson: ( for further information.

Share this PhD
  Share by Email   Print this job   More sharing options
We value your feedback on the quality of our adverts. If you have a comment to make about the overall quality of this advert, or its categorisation then please send us your feedback
Advert information

Type / Role:



Northern England