Contrast in Terahertz Images of Archival Documents—Part II: Influence of Topographic Features

Jan 20, 2017

Bardon, T. ; May, R. K. ; Taday, P. F. ; Strlič, M.


We investigate the potential of terahertz time-domain imaging in reflection mode to reveal archival information in documents in a non-invasive way. In particular, this study explores the parameters and signal processing tools that can be used to produce well-contrasted terahertz images of topographic features commonly found in archival documents, such as indentations left by a writing tool, as well as sieve lines. While the amplitude of the waveforms at a specific time delay can provide the most contrasted and legible images of topographic features on flat paper or parchment sheets, this parameter may not be suitable for documents that have a highly irregular surface, such as water- or fire-damaged documents. For analysis of such documents, cross-correlation of the time-domain signals can instead yield images with good contrast. Analysis of the frequency-domain representation of terahertz waveforms can also provide well-contrasted images of topographic features, with improved spatial resolution when utilising high-frequency content. Finally, we point out some of the limitations of these means of analysis for extracting information relating to topographic features of interest from documents.