Photonic technologies play a leading innovative role of research in the fields of Cultural Heritage (CH)
conservation, preservation and digitisation. In particular photonic technologies have introduced a new indispensable era
of research in the conservation of cultural artefacts expanding from decorative objects, paintings, sculptures,
monuments to archaeological sites and including fields of application as diverse as materials characterisation to
restoration practices and from defect topography to 3d artwork reconstruction. Thus the last two decades photonic
technologies have emerged as unique answer or most competitive alternative into many long-term standing disputes in
conservation and restoration of Cultural Heritage. Despite the impressive advances on the state-of-the-art ranging from
custom-made system development to new methods and practises, photonic research and technological developments
remain incoherently scattered and fragmented with a significant amount of duplication of work and misuse of resources.
In this context, further progress should aim to capitalise on the so far achieved milestones in any of the diverse
applications flourished in the field of CH. Embedding of experimental facilities and conclusions seems the only way to
secure the progress beyond the existing state of the art and its false use.
The solution to this embedment seems possible through the new computing environments. Cloud computing
environment and remote laboratory access hold the missing research objective to bring the leading research together and
integrate the achievements. The cloud environment would allow experts from museums, galleries, historical sites, art
historians, conservators, scientists and technologists, conservation and technical laboratories and SMEs to interact their
research, communicate their achievements and share data and resources. The main instrument of this integration is the
creation of a common research platform termed here Virtual Laboratory allowing not only remote research, inspection
and evaluation, but also providing the results to the members and the public with instant and simultaneous access to
necessary information, knowledge and technologies.
In this paper it is presented the concept and first results confirming the potential of implementing metrology
techniques as remote digital laboratory facilities in artwork structural assessment. The method paves the way of the
general objective to introduce remote photonic technologies in the sensitive field of Cultural Heritage.