Cutting-edge approaches and innovations in Terahertz applications for Cultural Heritage


Petrarca Massimo Petrarca

Massimo Petrarca

Department of Basic and Applied Sciences for Engineering (SBAI), Sapienza University of Rome, Italy

Felici Anna Candida Felici

Anna Candida Felici

Department of Basic and Applied Sciences for Engineering (SBAI), Sapienza University of Rome, Italy

Moffa Candida Moffa

Candida Moffa

Department of Basic and Applied Sciences for Engineering (SBAI), Sapienza University of Rome, Italy


Terahertz (THz) radiation represents an innovative field for Cultural Heritage applications. The application of THz methodologies can provide a complementary approach to conventional techniques commonly used for art examination offering unique information. Notably, in the realm of Cultural Heritage, terahertz radiation presents several opportunities and advantages for understanding artworks, analyzing materials, verifying authenticity, comprehending degradation processes, and enhancing the preservation of cultural artefacts. Moreover, in the last decades, the variety and availability of THz technologies have significantly increased opening the possibility of compact and portable instrumentation for in-situ investigations.

The session’s objective is to present innovative approaches based on terahertz radiation as cutting-edge methods for understanding and preserving artistic and archaeological materials in a non-invasive way.


Topics include, but are not limited to:

  • Terahertz time domain and frequency domain spectroscopic systems and specific measurement apparatus; advancements in THz setups.
  • Terahertz-based imaging techniques from raster-scan to 2D sensor.
  • High resolution down to diffraction and sub-diffraction limited solution.
  • Tomographic methods.
  • THz Holography.
  • Quantum Cascade Lasers applications for Cultural Heritage.
  • Research and development of post-processing methods and algorithms.
  • Applications including material characterization, retrieval of hidden features, stratigraphic information on multilayered objects, multispectral and hyperspectral THz imaging; analysis of structural conditions, and environmental monitoring, etc.


Massimo Petrarca obtained his PhD in Physics in 2008. At Sapienza University of Rome, he founded and is responsible for the large university laboratory infrastructure "SapienzaTerahertz" located in the Department of Basic and Applied Sciences for Engineering (SBAI). This facility is dedicated to THz imaging and spectroscopy for many disciplines such as environmental monitoring, medical applications, defence and Cultural Heritage. His main research activities regard the application of electromagnetic beams for a wide range of disciplines. He is taking particular care of the laser-driven THz generation and detection for Cultural Heritage, environmental and medical applications. His last five years of research engagement are underlined by several won projects dedicated to a synchronized research and development activity of THz radiation: MUR-PRIN-TREX, Ministry of Defense-STORM, Sapienza-R-Set, Sapienza-TforCH: R&D on the potential of THz radiation for Cultural Heritage (and others dedicated to high-field THz within the scope of INFN funding). He is Guest Editor for MDPI, Applied Science, Special Issue Vol I and II dedicated to THz R&D.

Anna Candida Felici graduated in physics, she is director of the Laboratory for Non-destructive Analyses and Archeometry – LANDA of the Department of Basic and Applied Science for Engineering, Sapienza University of Rome. Her research activity mainly concerns the application of physics methods for the characterization of materials and techniques used for the realization of artistic and archaeological artworks. In particular, she carries out laboratory and in situ non-destructive analyses on mural and canvas paintings, manuscripts and metal and ceramic archaeological findings.. She has carried out several campaigns abroad (Syria, Pakistan, Nepal and Iran), in support to archaeological missions and restoration and conservation interventions. She is participating to the ERC project “PAGES – Priscian’s Ars Grammatica in European Scriptoria” dealing with the recovery of unreadable texts in palimpsests, by using Multispectral Imaging and spectroscopical techniques. She is the Principal Investigator of the “IMAGO – Imaging Multispettrale per l’Arte, Gamification e realtà Olografica” project funded by Regione Lazio, Centro di Eccellenza DTC whose aim is the realization of a system for an advanced fruition of cultural heritages based on the combined use of the digital technologies for the Augmented Reality and the Multispectral Imaging.

Candida Moffa received her Master's degree in “Science and Technology for the Conservation of Cultural Heritage” at Sapienza, University of Rome in 2022. The focus of her thesis was the application of terahertz continuous wave (THz-CW) spectroscopy for the characterization of organic dyes and the detection of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) involved in the degradation processes of Cultural Heritage artefacts.
Currently, she is enrolled in the second year of the Ph.D. Course in Mathematical Models for Engineering, Electromagnetics and Nanosciences at the Department of Basic and Applied Sciences (SBAI) of Sapienza University of Rome. Her research work concerns the combined use of non-invasive diagnostic methodologies with a focus on the application of terahertz (THz) techniques in the Cultural Heritage and environmental fields.