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Green Atmospheric Plasma-Generated Monatomic Oxygen Technology for Restoration of the Works of Art (MOXY)

Tangible cultural heritage assets constitute an invaluable and irreplaceable resource of humanity, which are increasingly threatened by contaminants from pollution, vandalism and fire. Currently available cleaning methods require solvents which can be detrimental to art materials, and harmful to health and the environment. Cleaning with oxygen atoms could provide a breakthrough solution. Experts from plasma physics, heritage science, and conservation from 10 European research organisations, museums, and SMEs, have joined forces in a new Horizon Europe MOXY project, coordinated by Ghent University.  The MOXY project aims to develop a new green non-contact cleaning technology, based on atomic oxygen to remove contaminants in a non-contact, without health or environmental concerns. The AO research, started as Moxy (2022-2026)  is venturing into new territory, and there are many questions to which there are no answers yet. But such is the path for innovation that is heading towards something transformative.


Mockups (2x2 cm) contaminated with soot and cleaned using AO: plaster S11, sandstone S16 (above S16 sample under the the Hirox 3D microscope),  Titanium White acrylic paint on canvas S19,  and Natural Yellow Ochre gouache S20. A: pristine, B: contaminated; C: contaminant removed with AO; D: pristine AO treated. Top row: AO treated samples, bottom row: untreated control samples.

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