Through barrier detection of ethanol using handheld Raman spectroscopy — Conventional Raman versus spatially offset Raman spectroscopy (SORS)

Fay Nicolson, Lauren E. Jamieson, Samuel Mabbott, Neil C. Shand, Duncan Graham, Karen Faulds

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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Spatially offset Raman spectroscopy (SORS) provides chemical analysis at depth even when obscuring barriers such as plastic or tissue are present. As the collection probe is moved further away from the point of laser excitation, scattered photons from deeper layers begin to dominate the acquired spectra, thus giving rise to through barrier detection. Here, we demonstrate the potential of conventional Raman (CR) and SORS for through barrier detection using handheld spectrometers. We report the collection of Raman signals from an ethanol solution through plastic at thicknesses of up to 21 mm using SORS in combination with multivariate analysis. SORS is compared to CR, where we also demonstrate impressive through barrier detection of ethanol at depths up to 9 mm. We also highlight the advantage of applying multivariate analysis for through barrier detection using CR or SORS, particularly when peaks with similar spectral features are present in both the barrier and analyte spectra. In addition, to the best of our knowledge, this is the first report of the assessment of the maximum level of through barrier detection using handheld CR and SORS instruments with a backscattering geometry.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1828-1838
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Raman Spectroscopy
Issue number12
Early online date28 Sep 2017
Publication statusPublished - 20 Dec 2017



  • conventional Raman
  • handheld
  • SORS
  • through barrier detection
  • spectroscopy

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