Advanced Raman spectroscopy - A powerful tool in lifescience and material research

Raman spectroscopy has emerged in the last years as an extremely powerful method in almost all natural science disciplines. This renaissance of Raman spectroscopy was mainly triggered by the latest achievements in laser technology, by the design of very efficient filter to suppress the elastically scattered Rayleigh light, and by the development of extremely sensitive detectors. The advantages of Raman spectroscopy are its unprecedented high specificity and its versatility.

Raman spectroscopy is a non destructive technique and does in general, require only minimal or no sample preparation. Solid, liquid, and gaseous samples can be measured as well as transparent or non transparent samples or samples with different surface textures i.e. Raman spectroscopy can be applied to any optical accessible sample,> where a pre-treatment of the sample is not necessary.

The first part of this presentation reports on the application and development of various Raman spectroscopic techniques for the investigation of a broad variety of biological probes will be given. It will be shown that Raman spectroscopy and its various techniques (micro-Raman, resonance Raman, surface enhanced Raman spectroscopy = SERS, tip-enhanced Raman spectroscopy = TERS, etc.) provide a powerful tool for noninvasive, nondestructive, and water-insensitive investigation of all kind of biological probes like single cells, tissues etc.

The main focus within the second part of this presentation is concerned with the derivation of structure-property as well as structure dynamics relationships by means of Raman spectroscopy. In particular the characterization of mineralogical samples like e.g. extraterrestrial material (meteroites) will be presented. It will be shown that Raman spectroscopy and in particular micro Raman spectroscopy can contribute to resolve various questions in the field of planetary investigations. Furthermore interesting approaches to apply and realise Raman-Microscopy for in situ planetary research based on recent breadboard activities in our labs will be presented.

In summary the presented examples convincingly demonstrate the great capabilities of Raman spectroscopy for life and material sciences making this technique to one of the most essential laser spectroscopical methods.