Skip to content
Haida Liang

Haida Liang


School of Science & Technology

Staff Group(s)
Physics and Mathematics


Professor Liang is Head of the Imaging & Sensing for Archaeology, Art History & Conservation (ISAAC) research group, and also the Co-Lead of the NTU wide research theme Global Heritage: Science, Management and Development.

Teaching duties include: Module Leader for Year Three Cosmology: Theory and Observation; teaching contributions to Year Three Cosmology: Theory and Observation, MSc Medical Imaging, MSc Imaging Matter: From Atoms to Galaxies, and supervisions of BSc, MSc and MRes Physics projects.

Career overview

  • Scientific Department, the National Gallery, London (2002-2005)
  • Physics Department, University of Bristol, UK (1996-2002)
  • Institut d'Astrophysique Spatiale, Orsay, France (1996)
  • Service d'Astrophysique, Commissariat à l'Energie Atomique (CEA), Saclay, France (1995-1996)
  • PhD in Astronomy and Astrophysics, Australian National University (1996)
  • BSc in Physics, University of Sydney (1990)

Research areas

Professor Liang leads the Imaging & Sensing for Archaeology, Art history & Conservation (ISAAC) research group, and is in charge of the NTU Research in Science for Heritage, Art and the Humanities.

Research Fellow:

  • Dr C. S. (Sammy) Cheung
  • Dr Sotiria Kogou
  • Dr Alessandra Vichi

Research Students:

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

Areas of research include the development of advanced optical imaging and spectroscopic instruments for non-invasive and non-destructive examination, applications of physics (particularly imaging and optics) to art history, conservation and archaeology.

  • Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT): Developing ultra-high resolution OCT and long wavelength OCT; Prof Liang's team applies OCT to the non-invasive 3D volume imaging of paintings and other cultural objects to obtain subsurface microstructures and measurements of optical parameters through modelling of absorption and scattering properties of turbid media. Recently, the team has extended the application of OCT to a variety of industrial and biomedical problems.
  • Multispectral/hyperspectral imaging: Portable, long range (remote imaging at stand-off distances of tens of metres) and close range (<2 m) multispectral/hyperspectral imaging systems are being developed in a variety of wavelength ranges for in situ spectral imaging of wall paintings and archaeological sites, paintings, maps and manuscripts, to enable conservation monitoring, archaeological, architectural and art historical studies.
  • Microfade testing spectroscopy has been developed for in situ micro-destructive spectral/colour monitoring of the relative light induced fading rates of materials used on works of art.
  • Optical properties of paint and varnish: The team examines the relationship between the material properties and the optical properties (including the effects of ageing) of varnish and paint material.
  • Portable and Remote Raman spectroscopy at standoff distances
  • Multimodal analysis using a range of complementary imaging and spectroscopic techniques for the holistic investigation of complex materials
  • Studies of the manufacturing techniques and degradation of vitreous materials such as faience and enamels

In her previous research, Liang also worked on Astrophysics topics such as observational cosmology, clusters of galaxies, radio interferometric telescopic and radio sources.

Opportunities to carry out postgraduate research towards an MPhil/PhD or MSc by research exist in all the areas identified above. Further information on MPhil/PhD opportunities may be obtained from the NTU Graduate School.

Sponsors and collaborators

Current and recent research is being carried out with the collaboration, support and/or funding by the following:

University collaborations include University of Kent, University of Southampton, University of Sydney (Australia), University of Science & Technology of China, Northwest University (China), University of Science and Technology of Beijing (China), University of Western Australia, University of Curtin (Australia), University of Canterbury (New Zealand)

Research funding in the period since 2005 includes the following:

  • 2015-2016, An examination of Stuart Davis’s materials and techniques funding through Brooklyn Museum,
  • 2015,  Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) for the measurement of multilayer polymer samples and coatings on metals funded by BASF
  • 2015-2016,  An exploration of the complementarity between non-linear microscopy and OCT for the examination of paint and varnish layers travel and subsistence funded by EU LaserLab to collaborate with FORTH in Greece
  • 2016-2019, KTP partnership with OPUS international on Remote sensing for corrosion of complex steel structures, Innovate UK/EPSRC, £414,000
  • 2017-2018, Max Planck Institute funded project on Polarisation Sensitive OCT for Nematic Materials, £160,000
  • 2017-2020, EU H2020 ESFRI INFRADEV on the Preparation Phase of European Research Infrastructure for Heritage Science (E-RIHS), total funding 4 million euros, £22k to NTU
  • 2017-2020, Conservation varnishes at the National Gallery: studying their optical and material properties, AHRC funded collaborative doctoral training partnership with the National Gallery, ~£70,000
  • 2017-2020, The conservation and interpretation of vitreous materials in museums collections – a non-invasive investigation, AHRC funded collaborative doctoral training partnership with the British Museum, ~£70,000
  • 2017, Innovative condition monitoring of electricity transmission asset - from science based archaeology to monitoring environmental risks on infrastructure, NERC, £212,315
  • Non-destructive in-line quality control of pharmaceutical tablet coatings. H Liang, European Regional Development Fund, (2014), £10,000
  • Culture & Trade through the Prism of Technical Art History- a study of Chinese export paintings, H Liang and L Burgio, AHRC (AH/K006339/1), (2013-2014), £80,043
  • Light sensitivity of papier découpé pieces by Henri Matisse, H Liang, Fondation Beyeler (2012), £5,100
  • Accelerated aging versus natural aging, H Liang, English Heritage (2012), £5,500
  • Investigation on the effect of light on painted surfaces using microfading spectrometry, H Liang, Science Museum (2011), £1,800
  • The next generation Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) for art conservation - in situ non-invasive imaging of the subsurface microstructure of objects, H Liang, M Spring and W Clarkson, AHRC/EPSRC Science & Heritage Programme AH/H032665/1, (2010 to 2013), £661,419
  • Application of Imaging Science to the Interdisciplinary Study of Wall Paintings along the Silk Road, H Liang and Q Zhang, RCUK-China RW10-10 (2010) £12,000 plus funding from Northwest University in China £12,000
  • An automated, versatile and portable micro-fading spectrometer for light-fastness testing, H Liang, Simulating Innovation for Success Award (2010 to 2011), £10,000
  • Non-invasive methods for in situ assessing and monitoring the vulnerability of rock art monuments, H Liang, M Bencsik and B Pyatt, AHRC/EPSRC Science & Heritage Programme and English Heritage (2009 to 2012), £33,203
  • OCT and multispectral imaging of two old master paintings, H Liang, Shepherd Conservation (2009 to 2010), £6,000
  • Understanding complex structures: the conservation, display and interpretation of lace and natural objects, T Fisher, H Liang and M Kite, AHRC (2009), £23,171
  • The nature of highly polarised radio sources, H Liang, Science And Technology Facilities Council (2009), Award of Observing Time
  • Imaging the Fadden Moor Bog Bible, H Liang, National Museum of Ireland (2008), £4,500
  • Portable remote hyperspectral imaging for in situ examination of wall painting, H Liang, EPSRC EP/E016227/1 (2007 to 2010), £249,915
  • Illusions of colour – a science and art collaboration with artist Catherine Baker, H Liang, Simulating Innovation for Success Award (2007 to 2008), £5,000
  • Application of a new non-invasive technique (Optical Coherence Tomography) to paintings conservation, H Liang, D Saunders, M Spring and A Podoleanu, Leverhulme Trust Research Project Grant (2006 to 2009), £126,480
  • Development of a micro-fading technique as part of the ‘Anoxic Display Frames for Works of Art on Paper’, H Liang, Tate (2006 to 2009), £10,000
  • An art history and science collaboration involving regional museums, H Liang and S Burch, Stimulating Innovation for Success Award (2006 to 2007), £9,500
  • Optical and material properties of varnish for paintings, H Liang, EPSRC and The National Gallery (2005 to 2010), £70,000
  • Non-invasive spectral examination of paintings for art conservation and the study of technical art history, H Liang, Royal Society Research Grant (2005 to 2006), £15,000


Wijsman S., Neate S., Kogou S., Liang H., Uncovering the Oppenheimer Siddur: using scientific analysis to reveal the production process of a medieval illuminated Hebrew manuscript, Heritage Science, 6:15 (2018)

Ogrodzki P., Cheung C. S., Saad M.,Dahmani K.,Coxhill R., Liang H., Forsythe S. J., Rapid in situ imaging and whole genome sequencing of biofilm in neonatal feeding tubes: A clinical proof of concept, Scientific Report, Vol 7:15948, doi:10.1038/s41598-017-15769-9 (2017)

Liang H, Mari M, Cheung C.S., Kogou S., Johnson P., Filippidis G., Optical coherence tomography and non-linear microscopy for paintings – a study of the complementary capabilities and laser degradation effects, Optics Express, Vol. 25 (16), 19640 (2017)

Kogou S., Neate S., Coveney C., Miles A., Boocock D., Burgio L., Cheung C.S., Liang H., The origins of the Selden Map of China – scientific analysis of the painting materials and techniques using a holistic approach, Heritage Science, Vol 4:28, DOI: 10.1186/s40494-016-0098-x (2016)

Kogou S., Lucian A., Bellesia S., Burgio L., Bailey, K., Brooks C., Liang H., A holistic multimodal approach to the non-invasive analysis of watercolour paintings, Applied Physics A. Vol. 121(3), 999-1014 (2015). DOI 10.1007/s00339-015-9425-4

Cheung C. S., Spring M., Liang H., Ultra-high resolution Fourier domain optical coherence tomography for old master paintings, Optics Express, Vol. 23(8), 10145-10157 (2015).

High resolution Fourier domain optical coherence tomography in the 2 micron wavelength range using a broadband supercontinuum source. Cheung CS, Daniel J, Tokurakawa M, Clarkson WA, Liang H, Optics Express, 2015, 23, 1992-2001

Remote spectral imaging with simultaneous extraction of 3D topography for historical wall paintings. Liang H, Lucian A, Lange R, Cheung C, Su B, ISPRS Journal of Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing, 2014, 95, 13-22

Optimum spectral window for imaging of art with optical coherence tomography. Liang H, Lange R, Peric B, Spring M, Applied Physics B: Lasers and Optics, 2013, 111 (4), 589-602

Advances in multispectral and hyperspectral imaging for archaeology and art conservation. Liang H, Applied Physics A: Materials Science & Processing, 2012, 106 (2), 309-323

Optical coherence tomography for the non-invasive investigation of the microstructure of ancient Egyptian faience. Liang H, Sax M, Saunders D, Tite M, Journal of Archaeological Science, 2012, 39, 3683-3690

High precision dynamic multi-interface profilometry with optical coherence tomography. Lawman S, Liang H, Applied Optics, 2011, 50, 6039–6048

Development of portable microfading spectrometers for measurement of light sensitivity of materials, Liang H, Lange R, Lucian A, Hyndes P, Townsend J, Hackney S, International Council of Museums, Committee for Conservation (ICOM-CC) Triennial Conference, 2011, Lisbon, 1612_882, ISBN 978-989-97522-0-7

Radio sources with ultrahigh polarisation. Shi H, Liang H, Han JL, Hunstead RW, Monthly Notices Royal Astronomical Society, 2010, 409 (2), 821-838

The Yuan-Tseh Lee Array for microwave background anisotropy. Liang H et al, Astrophysical Journal, 2009, 694 (2), 11610-1618

See all of Haida Liang's publications...

Press expertise

  • Non-invasive optical imaging of materials, in particular, imaging of cultural heritage