Contributions to the Characterization of Chromogenic Dyes in Color Slides

Joana Silva, António Jorge Parola, Maria Conceição Oliveira, Bertrand Lavédrine, Ana Maria Ramos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
43 Downloads (Pure)


Chromogenic reversal films (or color slides) are first-generation positive transparencies. These were used for various purposes, namely as an artistic medium, especially from the 1960s onwards. However, these materials are intrinsically vulnerable to chemical degradation and have poor long-term stability. Although over time significant improvements have been achieved in the stability of chromogenic products, chromogenic dyes are highly susceptible to oxidation and hydrolysis, both induced by light and/or relative humidity and temperature, leading to the fading and shift in the original color balance of the images. During the present investigation, a gap of knowledge regarding chromogenic materials in general, and chromogenic reversal films specifically, was detected. Today, there is still no methodology to identify the dyes present in a specific work and, therefore, to study their chemical mechanism of degradation. From this premise and focused on case studies from the Portuguese artist Ângelo de Sousa (1938–2011), a research study was carried out seeking the characterization of chromogenic dyes. Based on the isolation of the different dyes composing a chromogenic material, several procedures were tested to describe the dyes found in chromogenic reversal films, such as Raman spectroscopy, thin-layer chromatography (TLC), infrared spectroscopy, high-performance liquid chromatography with diode array detector (HPLC-DAD) and coupled with mass spectrometry (HPLC-HRMS). Promising results were achieved with this approach, opening new paths for the understanding of these materials.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3946-3969
Number of pages24
Publication statusPublished - 4 Dec 2022


  • chromogenic reversal films
  • color slides
  • chromogenic dyes
  • characterization
  • chromatography
  • mass spectrometry
  • infrared spectroscopy
  • Raman spectroscopy


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