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Imaging and Sensing for Archaeology, Art History and Conservation (ISAAC)

Unit(s) of assessment: General Engineering

Research theme: Global Heritage

School: School of Science and Technology


Our research and work focuses on:

  • the development of novel non-invasive optical instruments for imaging and sensing;
  • applications of science to heritage (heritage science) including the use of our unique instruments; and
  • develop applications of our imaging instrumentation expertise to a broad range of disciplines and industries including making economic and societal impacts.
  • more information about our work and research can be found at ISAAC Lab | Nottingham Trent University (
  • more information about our mobile lab can be found at ISAAC Lab | Mobile Lab (

Our work on advanced optical imaging and remote sensing applied to cultural heritage in solving conservation, art history and archaeology problems for museums and cultural heritage institutes is internationally recognised as leading the field. We are unique in developing advanced non-invasive imaging systems that are not only novel in optical and remote sensing instrumentation but also novel in applications to cultural heritage. Consequently, the instruments we develop are in demand in a variety of industries. We have collaborated closely with all major cultural heritage institutes in the UK and many institutions internationally.

We are engaged in the preparatory phase for the European Research Infrastructure for Heritage Science (E-RIHS) which was put on the European Roadmap in 2016. The European-wide project will see different platforms supporting the new research infrastructure, which include mobile laboratories, fixed laboratories, digital and archival facilities.

NTU's ISAAC mobile laboratory provision will contribute to E-RIHS both on the European and UK front.

Our archaeology, art history and conservation related projects take the research team across the globe, to galleries, museums and heritage sites.  We have worked on a number of projects at internationally-renowned sites, from our European projects at the V&A, the Louvre in Paris and Fondation Beyeler, Switzerland, to American sites such as the Brooklyn Museum and the Getty Conservation Institution (GCI) in LA. We have also visited several sites throughout China, such as the Shaan Xi History Museum, the Dunhuang Research Academy and the National Museum of China in Beijing.

Visit out projects pages for more information.

Global Heritage Showcase

Imaging and Sensing equipment used in preparation for our Global Heritage Showcase.

Related Staff

ISAAC staff

ISAAC staff at Nottingham Trent University.

Head of the Group

Professor Haida Liang

Research Fellows

  • Dr Sammy Cheung
  • Dr Sotiria Kogou
  • Dr Alexandra Vichi
  • Dr Florence Liggins

Research Students

  • Patrick Atkinson
  • Margaret Read
  • Yu Li
  • Chris Pickup
  • Hannah Cooper-Smithson
  • Alex Hogg
  • Luke Butler
  • Rachel Jacques
  • Mixon Faluweki


Research has been conducted in collaboration with conservation scientists, conservators, archaeologists, archaeological scientists and art historians and curators from the following heritage organisations:

  • The British Museum
  • The National Gallery (London)
  • Tate
  • Victoria and Albert Museum
  • English Heritage
  • Historic England
  • National Trust
  • Science Museum
  • Nottingham Castle Museum
  • Birmingham Museum and Gallery
  • Royal Horticultural Society
  • Historic Royal Palaces
  • Fitzwilliam Museum
  • Bodleian Library
  • Peterborough Cathedral
  • National Museum of Ireland
  • Louvre Museum and C2RMF (France)
  • LRMH (France)
  • National Museum of China
  • Shaan Xi History Museum (China)
  • Dunhuang Academy (China)
  • Getty Conservation Institution (USA)
  • Brooklyn Museum (USA)
  • Museums of New Mexico (USA)
  • Museum of International Folk Art (USA)
  • Fondation Beyeler (Switzerland)

and a range of UK and international universities, with support from

  • AHRC
  • NERC
  • RCUK
  • EU
  • HEIF
  • The Royal Society
  • Leverhulme Trust
  • English Heritage
  • The National Gallery
  • Tate
  • The British Museum
  • Science Museum
  • Fondation Beyeler
  • National Museum of Ireland
  • Dunhuang Academy
  • Bodleian Library.

Related Projects

Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2021

The Imaging and Sensing for Archaeology, Art History and Conservation Research Group submitted an impact case study to REF 2021. 98% of NTU's research submitted to the 'Engineering' Unit of Assessment was considered to be either world-leading or internationally excellent in terms of quality.

Discover the real-world impact of the research below.