Plasma technology for restoring historical papers

Photography of a microbially contaminated book.
© Fraunhofer IGB
Photography of a microbially contaminated book.

Old documents, historical edicts and ancient chronicles are cultural treasures of inestimable worth. Well housed, these witnesses of yesteryear are stored in museums or archives, but are mercilessly exposed to their worst enemies: acid deterioration, oxidation, cornification, insect attack or fungal infestation are difficult to stop if the technical wherewithal is lacking.

The Fraunhofer IGB has, therefore, for some years been conducting research in this field into the possibilities of using plasma technology and has developed special procedures for the restoration and maintenance of venerable documents. With this modern procedure, for example, the organism counts of contaminated papers can be reduced, organic impurities removed or mechanical stability improved. In addition, it is possible to de-acidify documents.