What is spectral resolution?

Spectral resolution is the ability to resolve spectral features and bands into their separate components. The spectral resolution required by the analyst or researcher depends upon the application involved.

There are numerous definitions used to describe spectral resolution, some more applicable than others.

The best description is to use the FWHM (full width half max) value for a sharp atomic line. This will give a good practical value for the spectral resolution that may be achieved by a modern dispersive Raman system.

A simplified description is to use the dispersion value for the instrument, given in cm-1/ pixel. This is the data-point step that will be acquired, but is not the true resolution. So standard dispersion values of bench-top instruments are typically around 1cm-1/pixel with a HeNe laser. (this is not the same though as 1 cm-1 resolution).