Raman spectroscopy and its applications


Raman spectroscopy  is a spectroscopic technique typically used to determine vibrational modes of molecules, although rotational and other low-frequency modes of systems may also be observed.Raman spectroscopy relies upon inelastic scattering of photons, known as Raman scattering. A source of monochromatic light, usually from a laser in the visible, near infrared, or near ultraviolet range is used, although X-rays can also be used. The laser light interacts with molecular vibrations, phonons or other excitations in the system, resulting in the energy of the laser photons being shifted up or down. The shift in energy gives information about the vibrational modes in the system.


It has the following components Lasers, Detectors and Filters.


Raman spectroscopy is used in chemistry to identify molecules and study chemical bonding and intramolecular bonds. Because vibrational frequencies are specific to a molecule's chemical bonds and symmetry (the fingerprint region of organic molecules is in the wavenumber range 500–1500 cm−1), Raman provides a fingerprint to identify molecules. For instance, Raman and IR spectra were used to determine the vibrational frequencies of SiO, Si2O2, and Si3O3 on the basis of normal coordinate analyses. Raman is also used to study the addition of a substrate to an enzyme.

In solid-state physics, Raman spectroscopy is used to characterize materials, measure temperature, and find the crystallographic orientation of a sample. As with single molecules, a solid material can be identified by characteristic phonon modes. Information on the population of a phonon mode is given by the ratio of the Stokes and anti-Stokes intensity of the spontaneous Raman signal. Raman spectroscopy can also be used to observe other low frequency excitations of a solid, such as plasmons, magnons, and superconducting gap excitations. Distributed temperature sensing (DTS) uses the Raman-shifted backscatter from laser pulses to determine the temperature along optical fibers. The orientation of an anisotropic crystal can be found from the polarization of Raman-scattered light with respect to the crystal and the polarization of the laser light, if the crystal structure’s point group is known.

In nanotechnology, a Raman microscope can be used to analyze nanowires to better understand their structures, and the radial breathing mode of carbon nanotubes is commonly used to evaluate their diameter.

Raman active fibers, such as aramid and carbon, have vibrational modes that show a shift in Raman frequency with applied stress. Polypropylene fibers exhibit similar shifts.

In solid state chemistry and the bio-pharmaceutical industry, Raman spectroscopy can be used to not only identify active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs), but to identify their polymorphic forms, if more than one exist. For example, the drug Cayston (aztreonam), marketed by Gilead Sciences for cystic fibrosis,can be identified and characterized by IR and Raman spectroscopy. Using the correct polymorphic form in bio-pharmaceutical formulations is critical, since different forms have different physical properties, like solubility and melting point.

Raman spectroscopy has a wide variety of applications in biology and medicine. It has helped confirm the existence of low-frequency phonons in proteins and DNA promoting studies of low-frequency collective motion in proteins and DNA and their biological functions.Raman spectroscopy has been used in several research projects as a means to detect explosives from a safe distance using laser beams.