Special Issue "Sensors for Cultural Heritage Diagnostics"


A special issue of Sensors (ISSN 1424-8220). This special issue belongs to the section "Physical Sensors".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (15 February 2014)

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Dr. Luca Pezzati
Gruppo Beni Culturali, CNR INO – Istituto Nazionale di Ottica, Largo E. Fermi 6, 50125 Florence, Italy
Website: http://arte.ino.it
E-Mail: luca.pezzati@cnr.it
Phone: +39 055 2308221
Fax: +39 055 2337755
Interests: diagnostic of cultural heritage; scanner for IR reflectography; image processing; interferometry; optical metrology; optical design

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

In recent years, the perception of the role of multidisciplinary science and technology by the stakeholders of conservation and restoration of cultural heritage has changed. In all major fields working for the safeguard of cultural heritage, applications and techniques are now seen as central for the study and diagnosis of artworks and artifacts. The role of diagnostics is now acknowledged, not only as a means of acquiring precious but “static” information about the artwork, but also as a possible solution for keeping the state of objects, sites and monuments “dynamically” under control.

One of the greatest problems to cope with in this quest for monitoring the safety and the security of artworks and sites, is the need for collecting huge amounts of data of a different nature (chemical, physical, biological,…) with possibly low-cost systems that can be deployed over wide areas and connected with state-of-the-art wireless networks. There is also a need for very small integrated sensors to be used as payloads in drones, or in other monitoring fixed or mobile networks. The era of diffused networked sensors is therefore starting, and the model to follow for cultural heritage applications is something closely related to the Internet of Things.

The aim of this Special Issue will therefore be to open a window on the world of sensing, to view the most promising solutions offered by developers to help preserve and safeguard the world’s cultural heritage.

Dr. Luca Pezzati
Guest Editor


Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. Papers will be published continuously (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are refereed through a peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sensors is an international peer-reviewed Open Access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1800 CHF (Swiss Francs).


  • cultural heritage
  • diagnostics
  • monitoring
  • physical sensors
  • chemical sensors
  • biological sensors
  • environmental sensors
  • mobile sensing
  • wireless sensor networks
  • internet of things

Published Papers (12 papers)

by , , , , ,  and
Sensors 2014, 14(7), 12271-12284; doi:10.3390/s140712271
Received: 17 February 2014; in revised form: 26 June 2014 / Accepted: 27 June 2014 / Published: 9 July 2014
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by , , , ,  and
Sensors 2014, 14(6), 9813-9832; doi:10.3390/s140609813
Received: 17 February 2014; in revised form: 20 May 2014 / Accepted: 29 May 2014 / Published: 4 June 2014
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by , , , , ,  and
Sensors 2014, 14(5), 9290-9312; doi:10.3390/s140509290
Received: 15 February 2014; in revised form: 5 May 2014 / Accepted: 19 May 2014 / Published: 23 May 2014
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by , ,  and
Sensors 2014, 14(5), 8779-8793; doi:10.3390/s140508779
Received: 17 February 2014; in revised form: 26 April 2014 / Accepted: 9 May 2014 / Published: 19 May 2014
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by ,  and
Sensors 2014, 14(5), 8217-8234; doi:10.3390/s140508217
Received: 4 March 2014; in revised form: 24 April 2014 / Accepted: 4 May 2014 / Published: 7 May 2014
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by , , , ,  and
Sensors 2014, 14(4), 7066-7083; doi:10.3390/s140407066
Received: 17 March 2014; in revised form: 14 April 2014 / Accepted: 14 April 2014 / Published: 22 April 2014
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by ,  and
Sensors 2014, 14(4), 6977-6997; doi:10.3390/s140406977
Received: 3 March 2014; in revised form: 8 April 2014 / Accepted: 15 April 2014 / Published: 21 April 2014
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by , , , , ,  and
Sensors 2014, 14(4), 6338-6355; doi:10.3390/s140406338
Received: 11 March 2014; in revised form: 31 March 2014 / Accepted: 31 March 2014 / Published: 2 April 2014
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by , , ,  and
Sensors 2014, 14(4), 5785-5804; doi:10.3390/s140405785
Received: 7 January 2014; in revised form: 10 February 2014 / Accepted: 14 March 2014 / Published: 25 March 2014
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by , ,  and
Sensors 2014, 14(1), 1665-1679; doi:10.3390/s140101665
Received: 10 November 2013; in revised form: 24 December 2013 / Accepted: 9 January 2014 / Published: 17 January 2014
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by  and
Sensors 2014, 14(1), 770-778; doi:10.3390/s140100770
Received: 23 November 2013; in revised form: 11 December 2013 / Accepted: 12 December 2013 / Published: 3 January 2014
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by , ,  and
Sensors 2013, 13(11), 15290-15306; doi:10.3390/s131115290
Received: 19 September 2013; in revised form: 28 October 2013 / Accepted: 30 October 2013 / Published: 8 November 2013
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Planned Papers

The below list represents only planned manuscripts. Some of these manuscripts have not been received by the Editorial Office yet. Papers submitted to MDPI journals are subject to peer-review.

Type of Paper: Article
: Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Sensors as Diagnostic Tools in Cultural Heritage
Authors: Noemi Proietti, Valeria Di Tullio, Donatella Capitani
Affiliation: Istituto di Metodologie Chimiche CNR Area della Ricerca di Roma, Via Salaria km 29,300, 00015 Monterotondo (Rome), Italy; E-Mail: donatella.capitani@cnr.it
Abstract: In recent years Nuclear Magnetic Resonances (NMR) sensors have been increasingly applied to investigate, characterize and monitor objects of interest for Cultural Heritage. Actually NMR is not confined to a few specific applications but its use can be successfully extended to a wide number of different issues regarding Cultural Heritage. A breakthrough has surely been the recent development of portable NMR sensors which can be applied in situ for a non-destructive and non-invasive investigation. In this paper cases of study are reported to illustrate the potentialities of NMR sensors in this field of research.

Type of Paper: Article
Evaluation of Albedo for Materials Classification with Laser Scanner Radiation
: Domenica Costantino and Maria Giuseppa Angelini
: Department of Science Civil Engineering and Architecture (DICAR), Technical University of Bari, Via Orabona, 4 - 70125 Bari, Italy; E-Mails: d.costantino@poliba.it (D.C.); , mg.angelini@poliba.it (M.G.A.)
Abstract: The main aim of this experimentation is the evaluation of potentialities of terrestrial laser scanner technology to carry-out, beyond topographic and morphological detection, non-invasive materic analysis of the scanned objects, with the prospective to evaluate the conservation of historical landmarks and cultural heritage of which Italy is the world leading country. Coherent lasers in the visible light range may lead to optical diffraction phenomena thus allowing for structural investigation and chemical analysis of the scanned objects. Application of LST in the visible range (λ = 585 nm) to a set of solid samples commonly applied in the construction (building) industry, differing in the crystallinity of their respective lattice, led to the following conclusions: a linear correlation has been established between degree of crystallization of solids and returning luminance of lasers after diffraction onto the solids surface; Gauss distribution of luminance data from diffraction onto less crystalline (plastics, glass) materials  has been  much narrow than more crystalline ones (metals, alloys, plasters). Both findings confirm that laser diffraction methods may be applied for fast materic determinations after simple LST scanning of solid samples. Bragg modeling of data, extensively applied for Xray diffraction methods (XRD), may be truly co-opted to Laser Scanning.
TLS, Reflectance, Materials, Classification, Materic analysis

Type of Paper: Article
: Remote Assessment of Cultural Materials through Nano-Scale Weight Monitoring
: Henoc Agbota 1, John Mitchell 1, Marianne Odlyha 2 and Matija Strlic 1
s: 1 University College London, UK; E-Mail: h.agbota@ucl.ac.uk 2 Birbeck College London
: The logistics and cost of environmental monitoring can represent a challenge for heritage managers, partly because of the sheer number of parameters to consider. There is a need for a monitoring system, which can measure the holistic impact of the environment on cultural materials while remaining relatively easy to use, affordable and providing remote access, in some cases. This paper describes a recently developed piezoelectric quartz crystal (PQC) based dosimeter system. The prototype’s sensing module consists of an array of PQC microbalances coated with different metals, each differently sensitive to principal outdoor, traffic-generated pollutants, and of a temperature and relative humidity sensor. The communication module includes an 802.15.4 low-power radio which transmits the measurements to a local GPRS gateway. The gateway relays the measurements to a web server and they are visualised 'live' online. An energy management protocol ensures that the system consumes minimal power between measurements. The paper presents the results of the evaluation of the accuracy of the PQC dosimeter against highly sensitive laboratory instrumentation. The paper also reports on results and experiences from two field deployments, at Apsley House, an English Heritage property in London and at the Royal Palaces of Abomey, a Unesco World Heritage Site in Benin, West Africa. Evaluation measurements of mass gain metal corrosion, temperature, relative humidity and the rate of successful transmission over the communication systems are also reported.

Last update: 11 October 2013

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