Jonathan Brecko, Aurore Mathys, Wouter Dekoninck, Marleen De Ceukelaire, Didier VandenSpiegel and Patrick Semal (2016)
Revealing Invisible Beauty, Ultra Detailed: The Influence of Low Cost UV Exposure on Natural History Specimens in 2D+ Digitization
PLOS ONE, 11(8):e0161572.
Digitization of the natural history specimens usually occurs by taking detailed pictures from different sides or producing 3D models. Additionally this is normally limited to imaging the specimen while exposed by light of the visual spectrum. However many specimens can see in or react to other spectra as well. Fluorescence is a well known reaction to the ultraviolet (UV) spectrum by animals, plants, minerals etc. but rarely taken into account while examining natural history specimens. Our tests show that museum specimens still fluoresce when exposed to UV light of 395 nm and 365 nm, even after many years of preservation. When the UV exposure is used in the digitization of specimens using our low cost focus stacking (2D+) setup, the resulting pictures reveal more detail than the conventional 2D+ images. Differences in fluorescence using 395 nm or 365 nm UV lights were noticed, however there isn’t a preferred wavelength as some specimens react more to the first, while others have better results with the latter exposure. Given the increased detail and the low cost of the system, UV exposure should be considered while digitizing natural history museum collections.