What Is Raman? Learn More Here

Raman spectroscopy is named after physicist C.V. Raman, who pioneered work in the field of light scattering and won the 1930 Nobel Prize for Physics. He discovered what is now known as Raman scattering and the Raman effect.

In the simplest terms possible, the answer to “what is Raman?” is “technology that uses light and vibration to measure something.” This “something” is diverse—Raman is used across industries to:

  • Discern chemical make-ups and molecular vibrations of substances
  • Provide real-time information about body tissues
  • Measure and examine materials without damaging them during the sample-taking

This vibrational spectroscopic technique uses a laser light source to illuminate a sample and provide valuable findings. Raman technology is used in areas including healthcare and pharmaceuticals, chemical production, aerospace, oil, gas, and energy. Learn more about the basic components of Raman spectroscopy below.

Common Questions About Raman

  • What is spectroscopy? Spectroscopy is a scientific measurement technique that measures light spectra to infer physical properties such as composition, mass, and temperature. In other words, it studies the interaction between light and matter.
  • What is Raman spectroscopy? Raman spectroscopy relies on Raman scattering, or inelastic scattering, of monochromatic light to identify molecular components. Raman scattering occurs when there are changes in electronic, vibrational, or rotational energy. This wavelength change in light is also referred to as Raman effect.
  • What is a spectrometer? A spectrometer is a measuring device for light waves, collecting them to determine the energy-emitting material.
  • How does a spectrometer work? A spectrometer splits light into colors, called a spectrum. The light is collected through a fiber optic cable, which then allows for the process to break down the light into spectral components. Those components are then composed into digital, readable measurements.
  • What is Raman shift? Raman shift is the data that shows the wavelength of the scattered radiation to provide structural and chemical data. Raman shift measurements indicate changes in energy levels depending on the molecule’s vibrational state.

Measuring light through Raman spectroscopy is a way to glean detailed, valuable, and, in some cases, life-saving insights into a material’s property. This non-invasive form of measurement is being innovated to help industries work more efficiently through the use of powerful data.

Advantages to Raman Spectroscopy

Compared to infrared spectroscopy, Raman spectroscopy can assess molecular motion and gain molecular fingerprint data without needing to prepare a sample first.

Raman spectroscopy is also beneficial because it can be used with solid, liquid, and gas materials, allowing for accurate measurement of water, oil, and more. Results are provided in mere seconds, cutting down on more elaborate measuring techniques other types of spectroscopy require.

Other advantages include:

  • Sample is not affected: Raman’s non-destructive measurement technique means a sample can be measured multiple times with no effect on the sample.
  • Can be used for qualitative and quantitative purposes: Whether precise numerical measurements are needed, or simply the quality of the material needs to be identified, Raman spectroscopy works for varying applications.
  • Chemical structure differentiation: Raman spectroscopy is able to detect small changes in material structure and identify different chemical structures in a wide variety of materials.
  • Uses inexpensive sample holders: Sample holders made of glass, plastic, or quartz are ideal for Raman samples and are often inexpensive compared to other types of sample-holding materials.

These advantages make Raman spectroscopy a highly attractive alternative to infrared spectroscopy.

Uses of Raman Spectroscopy

The non-damaging techniques of Raman spectroscopy have far-reaching potential, making it useful for situations where microscopic and chemical analysis is required. Just some of the uses of Raman spectroscopy include:

  • Tracking molecule structure changes in materials (including carbon)
  • Ensuring accurate compound distribution in medicine
  • Tracking crystallinity changes
  • Identifying substances, including minerals and gemstones
  • Identifying polymorphs
  • Evaluating pressure or stress on a structure
  • Assessing the direction of orientation of molecules
  • Single-cell analysis and disease diagnosis

Raman spectroscopy is what industries rely on for the most precise molecular information, while keeping materials intact and unharmed during the measurement process. This breakthrough measuring technique has unlimited potential for how it can transform safety, energy efficiency, scientific discovery and exploration, healthcare, and so much more.

Learn Why MarqMetrix Is a Leader in Raman Technology

At MarqMetrix, we’ve used Raman measurement techniques to drive innovation in the design of products we offer for the best measurement samples. These include our MarqMetrix Fiber Ball Probe, Performance BallProbe, and more.

If you are interested in how MarqMetrix Raman products and services can benefit your business, contact us to a request a Raman consultation, email us at info@marqmetrix.com, or give us a call at 206-971-3625.