Journal of the European Optical Society - Rapid publications, Vol 6 (2011)

Investigating the use of terahertz pulsed time domain reflection imaging for the study of fabric layers of an Egyptian mummy

K. Fukunaga, E. Cortes, A. Cosentino, I. Stünkel, M. Leona, I. N. Duling III, D. T. Mininberg


This paper reports the first use of terahertz time domain reflection imaging involving textiles on part of a complete human mummy, still in original wrapping. X-ray technique has been used extensively to investigate anatomical features, since X-ray pass through the wrapping. Terahertz waves, on the other hand, can penetrate into non-metallic materials and its reflection depends on the refractive index of materials at the interface, such as textiles and the air. The mummy of Kharushere (ca. 945-712 B.C.) was examined by using Terahertz time domain reflection imaging in the Egyptian galleries of The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Experimental results suggest that the Terahetz imaging is a promising technique for probing the fabric layers surrounding Egyptian mummies, although it is still very limited in its current state. In the future it could become a useful complement to CT scanning when materials with low radiographic density and contrast are being investigated.

© The Authors. All rights reserved. [DOI: 10.2971/jeos.2011.11040]

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