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The Rathgen Research Laboratory is the leading institution for conservation science, art technology and archaeometry at the National Museums in Berlin. It carries out investigations on a broad variety of materials within the museum environment and focuses its research on scientific issues concerning the care of monuments and archaeological sites.
It carries forward the tradition of the world´s oldest scientific museum laboratory, the Chemical Laboratory of the Royal Museums in Berlin, which was founded on April 1 and bears the name of its first director, Friedrich Rathgen.
With its expertise in questions referring to the preservation and conservation of movable and immovable cultural heritage the Rathgen Research Laboratory is contributing to international institutions and organisations as the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS), the International Council of Museums - Committee for Conservation (ICOM-CC) or the International Centre for the Study and Preservation of Cultural Property (ICCROM).
In its role as conservation science contact within the National Museums in Berlin the laboratory is dedicated as well to scientific research in competitive programs as to state-of-the-art service to it wide community of clients within the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation and beyond.
The laboratory is equipped with modern analytical devices and methods, e.g. optical and scanning electron microscopy (ESEM/EDS), portable and traditional X-Ray Fluorescence (µ-XRF und XRF), XRay Diffraction (XRD), Infrared (FT-IR) and UV-VIS Spectroscopy, Pyrolysis- Gas Chromatography (Py-GC/MS), High Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC), Atomic Absorption Spectrometry (AAS), Inductively Coupled Mass Spectrometry (ICP/MS), optically stimulated (OSL) and Thermoluminescence (TL), non-destructive Ultrasonic-Testing, as well as further methods for the determination of physico-mechanical parameters of materials. It also has at its disposal artificial ageing chambers for climatic simulation and mobile systems for the monitoring of the physical and chemical environment in the collections and on site.