WHY USING THE LASER FOR CLEANING?
Laser technique was first introduced in the early 1970’s, and since then it has been successfully used on several materials and kinds of decay, as it effectively discriminates the original layers from the decayed ones, thus allowing a self-terminating cleaning process.
Four are the main advantages featured by this technology:
Low invasivity: as it doesn’t require the use of chemical treatments, or abrasive materials, extremely fragile or altered surfaces can be treated with no direct contact, even before the consolidation.
High control: the removal of the decayed layer is very progressive (only few microns per pulse), thus allowing the highest precision in the level of cleaning.
Selectivity: materials absorb the optic radiation of solid-state lasers (Nd:YAG) according to their color, which makes the action of the laser even more selective. If the layer to be removed, usually rather dark, absorbs the light completely, the lower layer, which is usually lighter, will reflect the light, thus limiting or stopping the action of the laser altogether.
High precision: the cleaning process involves only the area lit by the laser beam, which may be accurately limited as needed. Furthermore, optic-fiber lasers allow to treat even elaborately shaped surfaces.