When to Use a Raman Microscope Spectrometer

Raman microscopy is an extremely powerful analytical method. Combining the unique chemical identification capabilities of Raman spectroscopy with traditional confocal microscopy opens an array of applications in a wide range of fields. But what is a Raman microscope spectrometer, and when might you use one?

What is a Raman Microscope?

Raman microscopy is sometimes stylised µ-Raman as it unlocks microscale chemical fingerprinting. We’ve already explored the science of micro Raman spectroscopy in a previous post, but it is worth briefly reiterating. The Raman effect is a form of inelastic scattering off a sample; a very weak signal emitted by certain molecules following excitation. Electrons excited by monochromatic light may emit energy when relaxing to a vibrational state. These specific vibrational frequencies correspond to atomic mass and the strength of bonds between atoms in a molecule. Raman spectra subsequently indicate the unique chemical identity of your sample.

The spectral resolution of Raman spectroscopy varies depending on the laser wavelength. Yet the typical spatial resolution is commonly given as 1 micrometer (µm). Achieving greater spectral resolution is possible through confocal microscopy. There are various methods of applying confocality to Raman spectroscopy, but the simplest explanation is that a confocal aperture is used to focus the light source onto a spot. This leads to powerful chemical examinations with sub-micrometer spatial resolution.

Applications of a Raman Microscope Spectrometer

There are so many varied applications across several fields that a Raman microscope spectrometer can be used in. From cosmetics to geology, mining to life sciences, the use of Raman provides great value to these applications and is frequently used for imaging and chemical analysis.

Raman spectroscopy is used when functional groups and different molecules need to be identified within large molecules, which is carried out by using a Raman microscope spectrometer to identify the fingerprint of the peaks exhibited by the molecules under analysis. When scientists need to characterize the chemical composition and structure of a sample, analysis via Raman allows for quick and easy access to valuable information. This can take place regardless of whether the sample is a gas, liquid, powder or solid. 

Below we will mention some of the key fields Raman spectrometry is used in and for what purpose.

Forensics

In forensic science, Raman imaging is used to identify drugs of abuse, explosives, ink, paint chips and more. It is also helpful for analyzing gunshot residue and accelerants in cases of arson.

Geology

Geologists commonly use Raman to carry out varied geological research, identify gemstones and perform petroleum analysis.

Pharmaceuticals

There are many vital applications of Raman in the pharmaceutical industry, with some of the main ones being contaminant identification and drug discovery. It is also used to identify counterfeit substances and aid the development of drug products.

Semiconductor

Raman spectrometry is used extensively throughout the semiconductor field to identify contaminants, conduct materials research, support OLED development and help with thin film quality control. However, there are many other applications it can be used for in this field.

Benefits of Using a Raman Microscope Spectrometer

Across a wide range of applications, Raman spectroscopy provides many benefits by allowing scientists to obtain information about a sample's chemical structure, crystallinity, molecular interactions and other aspects.

Benefits of using a Raman microscope spectrometer include 

  • Analyzing samples of all types (gels, liquids, solids and more)
  • Analyzing samples within different containers (glass vials, polymeric containers or sachets)
  • Flexible: Able to adjust parameters and adaptable for specific samples
  • Noninvasive and nondestructive
  • Qualitative and quantitative chemical analysis
  • Raman spectra can be acquired within seconds
  • Sample preparation is not required

Raman Microscope Spectrometers with CRAIC Technologies

CRAIC Technologies manufactures a range of spectrometers for image and sample analysis. These products include the Apollo M™ Confocal Raman microspectrometer, which is a high-performance, powerful and reliable piece of equipment that can be used alone or with the addition of the CRAIC UV-VIS-NIR Microspectrophotometer. 

If you would like any additional information about Raman microscope spectrometers or our other products, get in touch with us today!