Mobile NMR: An essential tool for protecting our cultural heritage

Maria Baias

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


What is ‘cultural heritage’? Is it simply our legacy of physical artifacts – or is it our collective legacy as human societies – how we want to be remembered by future generations? With time, negligence, and even military conflict working to erase the past, we must ask: Can a better understanding of our shared heritage assists us in addressing cultural differences in the present day? And how can science both help us understand the historic record and work to preserve it? In this perspective article, we examine an emerging scientific method, mobile nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR), which can help us examine in a non-invasive way important objects and sites of our cultural heritage. Following these investigations, one can envisage ways for protecting our global heritage for future generations. For this purpose, we examine how this method can be used to non-destructively explore historical artifacts, which can lead to understanding the science behind the creation of these treasured items – paintings, frescoes, parchments, historical buildings, musical instruments, ancient mummies, and other artifacts. This perspective article follows few relevant examples from the scientific literature where mobile NMR has been applied in a non-invasive way to analyze objects of cultural heritage. One can envision possible future advancements of this technique and further applications where portable NMR can be used for conservation of cultural heritage.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)33-37
Number of pages5
JournalMagnetic Resonance in Chemistry
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2017


  • art conservation
  • cultural heritage
  • mobile NMR
  • unilateral NMR

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • General Materials Science


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