Lacquered up

The Column

The Column, The Column-05-17-2012, Volume 8, Issue 9
Pages: 8

A team of Japanese scientists has developed a method for analysing the identity of a lacquer source using lithium ion (Li+) attachment mass spectrometry (Li+IAMS).

A team of Japanese scientists has developed a method for analysing the identity of a lacquer source using lithium ion (Li+) attachment mass spectrometry (Li+IAMS).1

Japanese lacquer is known to be one of the best ancient coating techniques in the world, and by identifying the lacquer source the results can help to determine its origin.

The team investigated the pyrolysis of Japanese lacquer films through temperature-programmed heating using direct probe-Li+IAMS. Among the pyrolysis products detected, carboxylic acids, phenols, catechols and aliphatic and aromatic hydrocarbons were the most common.

The team compared their results with those of a previous pyrolysis/gas chromatography/mass spectrometry study of Japanese lacquer samples. The comparison demonstrated significant differences between the two techniques in terms of the products and their distributions in the Japanese lacquer films. They concluded that their approach offered the opportunity to directly study the pyrolysis processes occurring in complex natural materials. It also suggested a way to determine the identity of a lacquer source by identifying different types of lacquer monomer.

1. Toshihiro Fujii et al., Journal of Analytical and Applied Pyrolysis, (in press) 2012.

This story originally appeared in The Column. Click here to view that issue.