The 37-metre AGLAE accelerator will be used for studying and helping authenticate paintings and other items made from organic materials.

An antique bronze sculpture is analyzed using the latest version of the AGLAE (Louvre accelerator of elemental analysis), an apparatus for the chemical analysis of art and archaeological pieces, at the Louvre museum on November 21, 2017 in Paris. The new AGLAE was carried out in collaboration between the CNRS, C2RMF and ChimieParistech and co-financed by the programm
An antique bronze sculpture is analyzed using the latest version of the AGLAE (Louvre accelerator of elemental analysis), an apparatus for the chemical analysis of art and archaeological pieces, at the Louvre museum on November 21, 2017 in Paris. The new AGLAE was carried out in collaboration between the CNRS, C2RMF and ChimieParistech and co-financed by the programm "Investissement d'avenir", the city of Paris and the French culture ministry. (AFP)

The world's only particle accelerator dedicated to art was switched on at the Louvre in Paris onThursday to help experts analyse ancient and precious works.

The 37-metre (88-foot) AGLAE accelerator housed underneath the huge Paris museum will be now be used for the first time to routinely study and help authenticate paintings and other items made from organic materials.

A restorer from the Restoration of Museums of France (C2RMF) research centre explains the operation of the AGLAE (Louvre accelerator of elemental analysis), an apparatus for the chemical analysis of art and archaeological pieces, at the labs of the Louvre museum in Paris on November 21, 2017.
A restorer from the Restoration of Museums of France (C2RMF) research centre explains the operation of the AGLAE (Louvre accelerator of elemental analysis), an apparatus for the chemical analysis of art and archaeological pieces, at the labs of the Louvre museum in Paris on November 21, 2017. (AFP)

The Centre for Research and Restoration of the Museum of France (C2RMF), which is independent of the Louvre, has spent $2.5 million ($2.1 million euros), overhauling and upgrading the machine, which can determine the chemical make-up of objects without the need to take samples.

"Up to now we almost never analysed paintings because we were afraid the particle beam might change the colours" when it hit the pigments in the paint, director Isabelle Pallot-Frossard told AFP.

The AGLAE works by speeding up helium and hydrogen nuclei to speeds of between 20,000 to 30,000 km (12,400 to 18,600 miles) per second and then bombarding the object, which emits radiation that can be captured and analysed.

An antique bronze sculpture is analysed using the latest version of the AGLAE (Louvre accelerator of elemental analysis), an apparatus for the chemical analysis of art and archaeological pieces, at the labs of the Louvre museum in Paris, on November 21, 2017.
An antique bronze sculpture is analysed using the latest version of the AGLAE (Louvre accelerator of elemental analysis), an apparatus for the chemical analysis of art and archaeological pieces, at the labs of the Louvre museum in Paris, on November 21, 2017. (AFP)

Among the first objects to be tested by the newly configured accelerator were Roman votive statues of the household gods, the Lares, which were said to protect the home.

They were uncovered from the ancient forum of Bavay close to the border with Belgium.

The old accelerator, which was built in 1988, could only work between eight and 10 hours a day, but the new one can function around the clock, the C2RMF said.

Source: AFP