Raman Spectroscopy Applications

The applications of Raman spectroscopy are rapidly increasing, due largely to the availability of compact, portable instruments, more sophisticated data analysis, and greater understanding of this powerful technique within the scientific community. Raman has revolutionized quality control in pharma, improved security for first responders, and is poised to have a similar impact on healthcare, food, and many other areas. Raman’s ability to provide a rapid chemical fingerprint without contacting or consuming the sample makes it ideal for use in point-of-care and mobile settings, and its capacity for extracting meaningful results from complex samples is generating excitement in many non-traditional fields. All of the Raman spectroscopy applications listed here have been performed with Wasatch Photonics Raman spectrometers & systems. Intrigued? Explore our enabling Raman products, or learn how they deliver a step change in performance for portable Raman in our tech note on extending Raman’s reach. Not sure where to get started, or what Raman spectroscopy can do for you? Let’s talk

Applications of Raman Spectroscopy

Biomedical applications of Raman spectroscopy icon

Biomedical Diagnostics & Biological Research

Medical applications of Raman often strike close to home, and we have the privilege of supporting many at both the research and OEM level. We work with those developing diagnostics for gout, dental caries, and blood glucose, plus researchers using SERS for bacterial detection. We see Raman in cell research, noninvasive testing of blood quality, and tissue measurements. One of the most exciting areas benefiting from our higher sensitivity is cancer and infectious disease detection.

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  • Raman in diagnostics: Raman spectroscopy has huge potential for use in medicine, according to Dr. Jürgen Popp of the Leibniz Institute of Photonic Technology, Michael Matthews and Dr. Dieter Bingemann of Wasatch Photonics, and Professors Tinghui Xiao & Keisuke Goda at the University of Tokyo. > Read the interview in Electro Optics
  • Multiplexed pathogen detection: SERS-based nanosensors using magnetic nanoparticles facilitate rapid, portable detection of pathogens like E. coli and methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus. > Read the paper in Spectroscopy
  • Implantable biosensors: SERS-active sensing assays encapsulated in a hydrogel matrix may prove superior to fluorescence-based implantable biosensors. > Read the study
  • Diagnosing gout at point-of-care: Raman allows accurate, objective testing of the crystals causing arthritic conditions like gout & pseudo-gout, with less sample prep. > Learn more
  • UV Resonance Raman (UVRR): A novel technique for probing molecular structure and dynamics in biological systems, from proteins to bioprocesses. > Learn about this technique
  • Is 1064 nm Raman best for Biological Samples? Raman spectra of bovine bone, monosodium urate crystals, and dental caries at 785 and 1064 nm are compared for signal and background fluorescence. Read the study in Spectroscopy

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Bioprocess Monitoring & Quality

Bioprocesses are used in energy, medical, and environmental applications to generate and/or refine valuable byproducts and biomaterials. Their resulting quality and cost stems from control over the chemistry and efficiency of those processes. We support manufacturers of Raman spectroscopy-based systems for direct, in-line observation of closed production systems, bioreactors, and finished products, helping them acquire valuable information about reactant consumption, product quality, and endpoint detection.

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Food applications of Raman spectroscopy icon

Food Quality, Safety & Authenticity

Quality, safety, and authenticity of our food supply is a real and present issue, and Raman’s specificity, sensitivity, and insensitivity to water is an ideal technique to tackle it. We’re helping measure moisture & fat content for quality and detect acrylimide in fried foods, fipronil in eggs, & melamine in milk for safety. We work with scientists finding new ways to authenticate protected domain spirits, spices, organic oils, and maple syrup, as well as finding new solutions to improve the food chain.

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  • Analysis of foods with Raman: Smaller and more sensitive Raman instruments are facilitating rapid, on-site authentication and quality testing throughout the food chain. > Read how in Photonics Spectra
  • Authentication of Pisco brandy: 1064 nm Raman can easily distinguish pure pisco from mixtures, identify grape variety, and quantify ethanol & methanol content. > Read the study

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Energy industry applications of Raman spectroscopy icon

Oil, Gas & Renewable Energy

Our dependence on energy makes it a resource to guard at every stage of production & use. Raman’s ability to analyze hydrocarbons and gases can optimize extraction during mud logging & downhole monitoring, and sound the alarm on dangerous gases. It can be used to detect counterfeit and subpar fuels blended with vegetable oil or subsidized fuels via direct detection and sensitive SERS-based markers. It can even analyze the thermochemistry of very hot exhausts.

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  • Rapid Analysis of Complex Gas Mixtures: Data-Driven Raman Spectroscopy was used to distinguish between 12 hydrocarbon and nonhydrocarbon gases an online mudlogging study. > Read the paper in Spectroscopy

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Security Raman spectroscopy applications icon

Security, Authentication & Threat Detection

While Raman has long been used for threat detection, we’re enabling new applications and use cases like biological & chemical agents and trace sensing with our sensitivity and speed. First responders, military, and checkpoints rely on Raman for detection of narcotics, explosives & precursors, and we can make that easier. But security has a wider meaning. It includes ID of taggants in valuables, forensic analysis, and even routine uses like detecting ice on roads or water quality testing.

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  • CWMD Consortium: This organization connects technology leaders in research & industry to combat weapons of mass destruction & safeguard global security. See how we’re involved

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Materials Raman spectroscopy applications icon

Materials Research & Identification

The field of materials analysis impacts in every aspect of our lives, from the electronics we depend on to our ubiquitous use of plastics. Raman is a popular method for the analysis of next-generation materials like graphene, carbon nanotubes, nanoparticles, and polymer films. We’ve used it to validate gemstones, and it can provide valuable information in art analysis. Its speed and specificity is key in plastic identification for recycling, and may be the answer to testing water for microplastics.

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  • Ultrasonic capture aids microplastic identification: A new ‘trap and detect’ method may prove far simpler than the current ‘filter and scan’ Raman method. > Read the joint study in Spectroscopy
  • Detection of microplastics in the ocean: Integrating Raman spectroscopy & holography allows in-situ detection and monitoring of microplastics at depth in the ocean > Read more
  • Rapid plastic ID for recycling: Raman works very well for polymer identification, even discriminating within families & signaling the presence of additives. > See our tests
  • In-situ corrosion monitoring: Raman can be used to detect the formation, growth, and evolution of corrosion products on metal surfaces. > Read the collaborative study in Spectroscopy
  • SERS substrate development: A dual nanostructured approach to SERS substrates may be more amenable to large-scale production. > Read the paper in Spectroscopy

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Pharmaceutical applications of Raman spectroscopy icon

Pharmaceutical Quality Control & Incoming Inspection

Raman is an extremely well-established technique in pharmaceutical analysis due to its ability to quickly test raw material ID and purity, provide online quality control of tablet composition & uniformity, and analyze APIs. We see new applications in the field, where our users are testing authenticity of antimalarial drugs or looking for ways to validate drug dosing and ID at point-of-care with a compact, sensitive device. It can even be used to characterize drug delivery in tissues.

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Contact us to discuss your Raman spectroscopy application

Whether you are new to Raman, have a good idea of what you need, or are looking to make the transition from benchtop to portable, we have the products, resources, and expertise you need. Let’s get that conversation started:

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Raman spectroscopy applications visualized