In this work we demonstrate the potential of single-sided nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) sensors to access deeper layers of paintings noninvasively by means of high-resolution depth profiles spanning several millimeters. The performance of the sensor in resolving painting structures was tested on models for which excellent agreement with microscopy techniques was obtained. The depth profiling NMR technique was used in situ to investigate old master paintings. The observation of differences in NMR relaxation times of tempera binders from these paintings and from artificially aged panels raises the possibility to differentiate between original and recently restored areas.

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