Applications of Raman Spectroscopy

Raman Spectroscopy is a unique chemical analysis technique that can analyze samples that other techniques can’t.
We’ll explore some of the uses of Raman that make this technique really shine.

Why use Raman spectroscopy?

Raman spectroscopy is like other chemical analysis techniques in that it can be used to identify, quantify, and characterize a wide range of substances. However, it is more specialized than some other techniques as there are more considerations involved that require prior knowledge. Despite this, Raman spectroscopy is still a powerful tool with advantages that other techniques don’t have, which makes it a valuable tool in various fields of study. 

What makes Raman spectroscopy so special?

  • It’s a non-contact technique:
    Raman spectroscopy can be used to analyze any materials without damaging them.
  • Data quality is excellent:
    Raman data can be used to assess a wide range of samples in great detail.
  • Little to no sample preparation is required:
    Raman spectroscopy can analyze most samples as-is so experiments are easy to set up.
  • Measurements can be made through transparent packaging:
    Since usually visible lasers are used in Raman spectroscopy, samples can be analyzed through any kind of transparent packaging that visible light can shine through including glass bottles and plastic bags.
  • It’s capable of examining very small structures:
    Raman spectroscopy can examine samples less than 5 µm with ease, even down the size of single molecules with more specialized Raman techniques
  • Can easily measure aqueous solutions:
    Water molecules present in the sample often interfere with chemical analysis, but that’s not an issue with Raman spectroscopy, which can even analyze floating particles in watery suspensions.
  • Powerful handheld devices are available:
    Raman can be used on the go or out in the field, while still obtaining excellent high-quality results
  • Spatially resolved analysis by microscopy and imaging:
    Even the smallest structures, down into the nanometer domain, can be analyzed by a Raman microscope. Using imaging, distributions of chemical or physical sample properties can be visualized.

What can Raman spectroscopy be used for?

Raman spectroscopy is widely applicable. It is used to perform quality control, failure analysis, sample identification, materials characterization, and in general to investigate physical and chemical properties. Raman spectroscopy can also be enhanced by microscopy, increasing its usefullness to the analyses of smallest structures and nearly any substance.

Analyzing carbon materials

Raman spectroscopy has become the mainstream technique for analyzing carbon containing materials like graphene, CVD diamonds, and carbon nanotubes. Raman spectroscopy can check for defects or precisely characterize the materials by determining the exact kind of chemical bonding.

Both types of analysis play a vital role in the research and development of these materials for different applications. Raman can also be used to determine how many layers of graphene are present in a sample or measure the diameter of carbon nanotubes. There is, simply put, no other technique that can give a user as much information about these materials as Raman Spectroscopy.

Materials science and researching new materials

Raman is a powerful tool for studying materials, whether that involves quality checking, failure analysis, or research.  Raman spectroscopy can be used to identify unknown materials, quantify the polymer fillers and additives during the manufacturing process, or characterize bio materials to better understand their properties.

Raman is also a powerful tool for studying the degradation of substances over time, like the decomposition or polymers when exposed to heat or the corrosion of cement when exposed to naturally occurring carbon containing compounds.  Also, since Raman spectroscopy excels at examining very small structures, it can be used to analyze thin polymer coatings or the crystal structure of ceramics.


Raman spectroscopy is a great tool for the pharmaceutical industry for any stage in drug production - from development to final product verification. Before drug development research really begins, it can be used to identify components in already existing formulations for reverse engineering.

When developing a drug, it can study the stability of components, and help to isolate desired molecules based on their chemical structure. When the drug is being produced, Raman microscopy can be used to image any drug in solid or liquid form to ensure the drug is free from contaminants and is uniformly distributed. 

Life sciences

Raman Spectroscopy can easily analyze samples in water, so it’s a great tool for studying cells, proteins, and other biological samples. Raman microscopy is exceptionally useful for investigating and visualizing the structure of cells and creating chemical maps of tissue samples.

It can also be used to study the structure of proteins and DNA, and their involvement in various biological functions. Raman spectroscopy can even be used to detect for cancer by looking at various proteins in the body. 


Raman spectroscopy has some big advantages that make it a useful technique in the field of forensics. Since Raman can analyze materials inside packaging, it is very useful for investigating counterfeit or illicit drugs that are inside containers.

Raman spectroscopy can also be used on the go in a handheld device, which can be used to identify evidence at a crime scene or detect explosives. By using a Raman microscope, even trace evidence can be found and chemically characterized.

Energy Technology

When researching materials for new technologies like improved batteries and solar cells, chemical analysis plays a vital role. Raman spectroscopy is a useful tool for producing solar cells, since its capable of probing the structure of silicon.

Raman can also be used to develop battery technology to understand the chemical changes that occur within the battery as it run. Raman excels in the field since it can easily examine all parts of a battery, even those that are in an aqueous solution. 

Art Conservation and Cultural Heritage

Since Raman spectroscopy is a no contact technique that requires no sample preparation, it’s a valuable tool for investigating pieces of art, cultural relics, or historical documents. Raman can be used to identify which compounds were used to create a piece of art prior to restoration, or study how the piece is degrading.

It can also help us understand how a piece must have looked when it was made, before being subjected to the ravages of time. Raman can also be used to identify the components of old artefacts so we can learn more about the culture that created them.