History

HORIBA Scientific now represents the major innovators of Raman instrumentation from the 1960s to the 1990s - Spex Industries, Coderg/Lirinord/Dilor, and Jobin Yvon.  From these beginnings through to the present day, HORIBA Scientific and its associated companies have been at the forefront of the development of Raman spectroscopy.

MOLE (Molecular Optics Laser Examiner)
MOLE™ (Molecular Optics Laser Examiner)

The Raman microscope was developed in Lille, France under the direction of Professor Michel Delhaye and Edouard DaSilva, and was commercially produced as the MOLE™ (Molecular Optics Laser Examiner) by Lirinord (now HORIBA Scientific). It developed as the molecular analog of Castaing's electron microscope.  As such it provides bonding information on condensed phase materials;  in addition to detection of molecular bonding, identification of the crystalline phase and other more subtle effects also proved of significant interest.

The microscope was initially integrated with the scanning double grating monochromator (c. 1972). When high sensitivity, low noise multichannel detectors became available (mid 1980s), triple stage spectrographs were introduced, with the microscope as an integrated component. In 1990 the holographic notch filters were demonstrated to provide superior laser rejection so that a Raman microscope could be built on a single stage spectrograph and provide enhanced sensitivity. Compared with the original scanning double monochromators, collection times for comparable spectra (resolution and signal to noise for a given laser power) is now at least two to three orders of magnitude higher than what it was 25 years ago.

The Xplora - compact Raman microscope
The latest generation compact Raman microscope - the Xplora

These core innovations have been pioneered in the HORIBA Scientific labs in northern France by the scientists and engineers who were trained in Professor Delhaye's laboratory, taking advantage of hardware as it came available.  This included holographic gratings, notch filters, air-cooled lasers, multichannel detectors (first intensified diode arrays and then CCDs), high power computers, and associated developments in electronics and software.

More recent developments in the Raman technique include SERS (surface enhanced Raman scattering), TERS (tip enhanced Raman scattering), integration with electron microscopes and atomic force microscopes, hybrid single bench systems (e.g., Raman-PL, Raman-FTIR), Transmission Raman (for true bulk material analysis) and  ATR Raman (for thin film excitation).

Because of the leadership that HORIBA Scientific and its associated companies have played in the industry, well-equipped applications laboratories with highly qualified scientists have been employed continuously for more than 30 years in developing the applications of these innovative instruments.