Microfading was originally designed for efficiently detecting extremely light-sensitive materials on objects in situ to determine the appropriate exhibition lighting conditions. By focusing an intense beam of light to a tiny submillimetre sized spot and simultaneously monitoring the colour change over time, the fading rate of the material can be measured without producing noticeable damage. The increased intensity of light allows rapid determination of light-fastness of materials. This paper examines an improved design of microfading spectrometer that is easy to assemble, compact, robust, capable of fully automatic acquisition of data with precision control of the fading time to produce higher precision measurements and to allow simultaneous monitoring of colour, spectral reflectance and other changes in real time. The effects of various parameters such as thickness and concentration of paint layer, the binding medium and substrate on the fading rates are examined for selected pigments and found that in certain cases substrates, binding media and thickness can affect the fading rate. Reciprocity in the context of microfading compared with realistic exhibition conditions is examined and found that it breaks down for some pigments.
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