UCL Institute for Sustainable Heritage


Hend Mahgoub

Thesis title: Quantitative Chemical Hyperspectral NIR Imaging of Historic Cellulosic Materials

Primary supervisor: Professor Matija Strlic
Secondary supervisor: Tom Fearn
Starting date: October 2015
Projected completion date:  October 2018
Sponsor (if applicable): Rijksmuseum, University of Barcelona, ZFB GmbH, Gilden Photonics Ltd. 

Spectral imaging has gained importance in the field of heritage conservation as a non-invasive method to evaluate conservation treatments and characterize materials. 

Hend’s project aims to demonstrate the benefits and limitations of quantitative chemical imaging of heritage of cellulosic origin, and its analytical robustness. This will provide a better understanding of degradation processes and provide a measure of change in collections through imaging. Moreover, the imaging methodology will be used to evaluate the effect of new de-acidification treatments as part of the European project “NanoRestART”. 

Hend’s project is a collaboration between researchers from University College London, the Rijksmuseum, University of Barcelona, ZFB GmbH, and Gilden Photonics Ltd. The project has an extraordinary potential to visualize the spatial distribution of an object's chemical composition and condition, in addition to the study of the effect of conservation treatments. This will assist in the development of improved management and preservation plans of collections.

The project is funded as part of the EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training Science and Engineering in Art, Heritage and Archaeology (SEAHA).


Hend Mahgoub has eight years of experience in the field of cultural heritage documentation and research. She has computer science background and she was recently awarded the MRes Heritage Science degree with merit from UCL (2014). Her Master's research project was about the study of Islamic Paper and the development of non-destructive scientific characterization methodology to identify and study paper made in Islamic countries with a focus on its stability. This research was carried out in collaboration with Lichtblau e.K. and the Wellcome Trust Library. Prior to SEAHA, Hend was working as a documentation specialist in Bibliotheca Alexandrina (Egypt). She contributed to many research projects with different academic and heritage institutions such as Kyoto University, the Grand Egyptian Museum, Egyptian Royal Geographic Society and the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities. Her previous research interests built around the design and development of integrated solutions using different technologies and techniques e.g. laser scanning and multispectral imaging for cultural heritage. Her focus was the documentation and investigation of different artworks from digitization, data and data analysis to dissemination.