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By revealing the chemical composition of samples, Raman microscopy has proved to be useful in many fields, including medical diagnosis, materials science, cosmetics, and food science. For the researcher, clinician, or engineer, it is most useful because it is a nondestructive method and requires no staining or other specialized sample preparation.
A Raman image of a poplar wood cell. Courtesy of WITec GmbH.
The Raman effect describes the inelastic scattering of excitation light by molecules. The interaction of a molecule with photons causes vibrations of its chemical bonds, leading to characteristic energy shifts in the scattered light that are visible in the material’s Raman spectrum. Chemical compounds can be identified…