The combination of a Raman/LIBS microscope system is one of the newest analytical testing methods available that characterizes size, shape and morphology of particles composed of both organic and inorganic components.
Raman spectroscopy has moved to the forefront of organic materials analysis over the last decade due to the reduction in component costs and the further development of database capabilities. Raman spectroscopy is based on the Raman scattering of monochromatic light as it interacts with a material. The resulting laser photons are shifted depending on the interaction of light with molecular vibrations in the molecule. This shift in energy gives very specific information relating to the vibrational modes in the material.
Laser induced breakdown spectroscopy, or LIBS, is a spectroscopy technique that utilizes a pulsed laser beam to create a small plasma from an ablated sample mass. The plasma spectrum is specific of the chemical species in the sample and provides composition, as well as relative abundances.
Typically, Raman and LIBS spectroscopic analyses are performed separately, and require sample transference from one device to another leading to possible sample contamination, loss and long analysis intervals. In contrast, the Raman/LIBS system combines the two methods in one unit omitting sample transference issues. The combined system affords shorter analysis times that require less manpower due to the fully automated nature of the analysis. Data can be compared to pre-populated databases of the samples’ spectral fingerprint to determine the origin of the material and discriminate between samples.
Raman/LIBS technology can be utilized for a variety of applications spanning the forensic, pharmaceutical and material science industries. Current applications focus on soil analysis, paint examination, metal testing, glass analysis, particulate characterization, ink and laser printer examination, drug analysis, explosive analysis, pharmaceutical particulate contamination, medical device wear debris and environmental particulate characterization.