Can a Raman microscope be used for analysis of bulk samples?

Yes.  Although ideally suited to analysis of microscopic features, a Raman microscope can also be used for macroscopic analysis of bulk samples.

Liquids and solutions typically require just a simple cuvette holder which attaches to the microscope - Alternatively, they can also be analysed directly in a glass vial or bottle – a confocal Raman microscope will ensure that there is minimum interference from the glass container, and allows a good quality spectrum of the liquid inside to be collected.

For solid samples, standard Raman microscopes are limited to spot sizes in the order of 0.5-10 µm (depending on the laser wavelength and objective being used), which is due to the optical path of the collimated laser beam through the objective – this can be a limitation for analysis of bulk solids and powders.

Certain system, such as the LabRAM HR, can be configured with adaptive optics such as the LineScan or DuoScan™ which allow laser spots to be created which can have dimensions up to 270 x 270 µm2 (depending on the objective being used).  These allow an average spectrum to be acquired from an area of the sample, and thus a Raman microscope can be used for macro analysis.

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