Ultra-high resolution Optical Coherence
Ultra-high resolution Optical Coherence

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Microfade Spectrometry (or MFT)
Microfade Spectrometry (or MFT)

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Reflectance Spectral Imaging Systems
Reflectance Spectral Imaging Systems

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Ultra-high resolution Optical Coherence
Ultra-high resolution Optical Coherence

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The Imaging & Sensing for Archaeology, Art History & Conservation (ISAAC) research group, established at Nottingham Trent University in 2006, is one of the world leading groups in the development of optical coherence tomography (OCT), spectral imaging and remote sensing techniques (hardware, software, data processing and analysis) specifically for cultural heritage applications.

Our research focuses on:

  •  the development of non-invasive or micro-invasive mobile optical instruments: OCT, remote sensing and imaging instruments such as stand-off spectral imaging and laser induced spectroscopy from distances of tens of metres; 

  • the development of new methods for depth-resolved material analysis;

  • the development of new data science methods to automatically analyse large datasets using machine learning;

  • the application of complementary non-invasive and multi-modal analytical methods to address research questions in archaeology, art conservation and history;

  • the application of our imaging instrumentation expertise to a broad range of disciplines, including soft matter physics, microbiology, material science and industry. 


Our work on advanced optical imaging and remote sensing applied to cultural heritage in solving conservation, art history and archaeology problems for museums and cultural heritage institutes is internationally recognised as leading the field. We are unique in developing advanced non-invasive imaging systems that are not only novel in optical and remote sensing instrumentation but also novel in applications to cultural heritage. Cultural heritage presents the most complex material science problems. Consequently, the instruments we develop are in demand in a variety of other fields. We have collaborated closely with nearly all the major cultural heritage institutes in the UK and many institutions internationally.

We are engaged in the preparatory phase for the European Research Infrastructure for Heritage Science (E-RIHS) which was put on the European Roadmap in 2016. The European-wide project will see different platforms supporting the new research infrastructure, which include mobile laboratories, fixed laboratories, digital and archival facilities.

ISAAC is now part of the European research infrastructure project Integrating Platforms for the European Research Infrastructure on Heritage Science (IPERION HS), a consortium with partners from 23 countries with a mission to build a unique and accessible research infrastructure for heritage science, connecting the communities from the Arts and Humanities with Sciences and Engineering.

ISAAC will contribute to E-RIHS and IPERION HS in the following ways:

  • ISAAC instruments, data science tools and expertise accessible through E-RIHS both on the European and UK front;

  • ISAAC mobile lab provision accessible through the IPERION HS pan-European transnational program;

  • Collaborative research in new methods and analytical platforms for future E-RIHS provisions on MOLAB, FIXLAB and DIGILAB.


We are pleased to announce that ISAAC lab has recently won two AHRC awards:

  • From Lima to Canton & Beyond: An AI-aided heritage materials research platform for studying globalisation through art



  • Maintaining the cutting-edge research capability of ISAAC Lab


and a 'Royal Society International Exchange' award with the  National Research Council (CNR) in Italy:

  • Non-invasive micro-scale depth-resolved imaging and sensing of materials in cultural heritage

Imaging and Sensing for Archaeology, Art History and Conservation (ISAAC) team members

Related Staff

Head of the Group:     Professor Haida Liang

Research Fellows:        Dr Sammy Cheung

Dr Sotiria Kogou

Dr Alessandra Vichi

Dr Florence Liggins

Research Assistants:     Alex Hogg

Research Students:      Patrick Atkinson

Margaret Read

Yu Li

Luke Butler

Chris Pickup

Makiko Tsunoda 

Mixon Faluweki

Peter Rowe

Thomas Wocial

Jonathan Parkinson-Swift

Maria Amelia Suzuki

Visiting Fellows and 

Students:                      Dr Xiangna Han