Micro Fading Tester (MFT)

What is an MFT?

Galleries and art collectors are now involved in a process of raising awareness of the complex issue of lighting within museum spaces, both to ensure a better and more engaging use of works of art by the public, and to try to prevent the artistic heritage subjected to the light and heat of the exhibition halls from deteriorating over time. In fact, it is now known that light and heat have a negative influence on the conservation of works, favoring their deterioration. The ideal environment for storing artwork would be a room without light. However, it is possible to limit the damage deriving from exposure to the public by providing the most correct lighting, i.e. achieving the maximum balance between irradiance (i.e. the amount of energy that irradiates the work), exposure times, emission spectrum of the source used and sensitivity of the material. From meticulous research in the sector, in order to preserve artistic heritage over time, the Micro Fading Tester (MFT) was born, an instrument equipped with the most recent technologies to measure the temporal behavior of dyes under irradiation. Through the MFT tests it is possible to classify the collections based on their sensitivity to light and adopt the most suitable display methods, to combine usability, enhancement of the colors and shapes of the works and at the same time excellent conservation of the artistic product. This approach makes it possible to adopt different display policies depending on the response to the tests, avoiding irreversible damage induced by light.



How does it work?

The instrument is equipped with a very stable light source characterized by the typical spectrum of museum lighting. The point to be examined is struck by a beam of light with a diameter of 0.5 mm and a spectrometer captures the reflected light. The total color change (∆E) for the selected point is constantly monitored during the measurement and the operator or software can stop the test when ∆E reaches the selected threshold value. Subsequently the data is analyzed by the software providing indications regarding the position in the CIE Lab color space and its movement over time. The results of multi-point measurements can be easily compared with each other or with Blue Wool standards. The instrument is equipped with up to 6 ultra-precise LEDs (UV, Vis, NIR and white) Micro fading tests can be performed for almost all types of materials present in the museum and are particularly suitable for studying works on paper, manuscripts, prints, watercolours, paintings on canvas, fabrics. The MFT is portable and lightweight, meaning it can be moved around the museum, making it easier to study large artifacts such as wall paintings, sculptures, maps, or valuables that are difficult to move.


  • Spot diameter: 0.5 mm
  • Spectral range: 400-750 nm
  • Spectral resolution: 2.50 nm
  • Vertical motion range: -80 to 200 mm
  • Light source: up to 6 motorized LEDs
  • Focus point search: automatic
  • Maximum light intensity at focus: about 4 mW (depends on selected LED)
  • PC connectivity: USB 2.0
  • Size: 250 x 400 x 440 mm (w x l x h)
  • Size when folded: 440 x 400 x 80 mm (w x l x h)
  • Mass: 5 kg


Reference list

    Qatar National Library Doha, Qatar
    Gothenburg University Gothenburg, Sweden
    Academy of Fine Arts Warsaw, Poland
    Center for Research on Preservation CNRS Paris, France
    National Museum Oslo, Norway
    Conservation Centre Vejle, Denmark
    Library of Congress Washington DC, USA
    Science Museum London/Swindon, UK
    Kunstmuseum Basel Basel, Switzerland
    Bei Jing Jiayuanwenbo Technology Limited Beijing, China
    Tainan Art Museum Tainan, Taiwan
    Silesian Museum Katowice, Poland
    Langelands Museum Rudkøbing, Denmark
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Washington DC, USA
    Philadelphia Museum of Art Philadelphia, USA
    National Library of Norway Oslo, Norway
    National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts Taichung, Taiwan
    Stuttgart State Academy of Art and Design Stuttgart, Germany
    The Museum of Modern Art New York, USA