Ocean Optics’ LIBS Technology Spots Fake Antiques

Spectroscopy brings science to ceramics evaluation at Beijing Antique City
Dunedin, Florida (August 11, 2010) – Technology from Ocean Optics is being used in China’s Beijing Antique City to separate authentic ceramic antiques from fakes.  Nationally recognized antiques appraiser Guan Haisen employs an Ocean Optics LIBS system, with QE65000 spectrometer, to help him identify artificially aged ceramics and artifacts.


Guan Haisen uses an Ocean Optics LIBS system to examine an antique vase.

Guan Haisen uses an Ocean Optics LIBS system to examine an antique vase.

Ocean Optics’ LIBS system uses a laser to ‘burn’ away a very tiny area (invisible to the naked eye) of the object under test, causing a plasma to form.  The plasma is then analyzed for the key elements of interest, such as chemicals used to simulate the process of aging.  The entire test takes less than 30 seconds. 

Currently, the ceramics examination industry in China relies heavily on the appraiser’s knowledge and experience. LIBS analysis brings a level of technical accuracy to antique identification.  Haisen uses LIBS to augment his extensive expertise and obtain the most accurate results.  His goal is to make this type of scientific verification a standard practice.

In selecting a system for this relatively new application, the accuracy of the spectrometer and software were absolutely vital to Haisen.  Portability and accuracy in the field were also important considerations as the appraiser often travels to the object rather than ship delicate items to the lab.  In addition, Ocean Optics’ flexibility enabled Haisen to design a new configuration of the LIBS system-basically an entirely new product specifically for his needs. 

Ocean Optics LIBS systems are used in a wide variety of other applications, such as RoHS screening, gem origin determination, and elemental determinations in mixed powders.

About Guan Haisen and Beijing Antiques City
Guan Haisen is a nationally recognized expert in distinguishing fake antiques, particularly ceramics. He has published a number of books and papers on the subject, and has appeared on numerous televisions shows, including the Chinese equivalent of Antiques Roadshow.  His shop, Guanhaisen Appraises Antique Technical Company, is located in the new state-owned Beijing Antique City (Beijing, China).  The four story building is the largest Chinese antique trade center in Asia, handling thousands of antiques including paintings, calligraphic works, jewelry and jade goods from over 600 dealers.

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