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Researchers develop a simple and economical micro-Raman system

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A team of researchers from Germany and Serbia have designed and constructed a micro-Raman spectroscopic system for application in biological imaging. The team reported their findings in a recent issue of Biomedical Spectroscopy and Imaging.

The group of scientists manufactured the novel instrument from easily accessible units at a much lower price rate than existing models.

Over the past few years Raman spectroscopy has developed into a powerful instrument in the analysis and chemical characterization of samples.

The technology has become a first choice research tool for many researchers due to its capacity to couple non-destructive classification with diffraction-limited lateral resolution. Utilized together with a microscope its capabilities to analyse biological samples is further enhanced.

Compared with existing micro-Raman instruments the newly developed system is simpler, more flexible and affordable.

The device can be built by an average skilled individual in optical assembly, and is estimated to cost around €10,000.

To manufacture the system, the scientists acquired more than 20 items, including: a motorized table, mirrors, filters, cameras and lenses; and can configured to various settings.

Furthermore to Raman spectroscopy the device can be affiliated with other techniques such as fluorescence imaging, enhancing its analytical capabilities.

“The advances made by the authors will make Raman micro-spectroscopic imaging of biological systems accessible to a greater number of scientists, especially those who do not have sufficient funding to purchase the more expensive instruments,” remarked the editor in chief of Biomedical Spectroscopy and Imaging Dr. Parvez I. Haris (De Montfort University; Leicester, UK).

The team demonstrated the soundness of the system by obtaining hyperspectral Raman images in point-by-point mapping and laser line scanning.

“We acquired Raman images of single human cells with a custom instrument. These data demonstrated that the instrument provides spectra of sufficient quality to distinguish the cell type. This result will be exploited in projects about identification of tumor cells circulating in blood,” commented lead researcher Christoph Krafft (Leibniz Institute of Photonic Technology; Jena, Germany).

“Thanks to this development we are likely to see a growth in Raman micro-spectroscopic imaging of biological samples including cancer tissues,” he added.

Sources: Kiselev R, Schie IW, Aškrabić S, Krafft C, Popp J. Design and first applications of a flexible Raman micro-spectroscopic system for biological imaging. Biomedical Spectroscopy and Imaging 5(2), 115–127 (2016); Researchers Can Now Build an Inexpensive and Flexible Micro-Raman System.

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