Understanding Raman Spectroscopy

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Last Updated: April 2021Version: 5Understanding Raman SpectroscopyPrinciples and TheoryBasic Raman InstrumentationFigure 1Raman TheoryRaman scattering is a spectroscopic technique that is complementary to infrared absorption spectroscopy.The technique involves shining a monochromatic light source (i.e. laser) on a sample and detecting thescattered light. Above is a simple schematic of a Raman spectrometer (Figure1).The majority of the scattered light will pass through the sample without interaction. The result is the detectorwill receive energy that is of the same frequency as the excitation source; this is known as Rayleigh or elasticscattering. A very small amount of the scattered light ( 1 in 107) is shifted in energy from the laser frequency.This shift is known as a Raman or Stokes shift. At room temperature, the anti-Stokes-shifted Raman energy isweaker than the Stokes-shifted energy-thus they are usually ignored and removed by filters. This due tointeractions between the incident electromagnetic waves and the vibrational energy levels of the molecules inthe sample. In other words, the interaction can be viewed as a perturbation of the molecule’s electric field.Viewed at the molecular energy level (Figure 2), the Rayleigh scattering (no interaction) and the Stokes shift(interaction) are energy difference between the incident and scattered photons is represented by the arrows ofdifferent lengths.Figure 2Approver:T. AdamoPage 1 of 5

Last Updated: April 2021Version: 5Vibrational Raman spectroscopy is not limited to intramolecular vibrations. Crystal lattice vibrations and othermotions of extended solids are Raman-active. Their spectra are important in such fields as geochemistry andmineralogy. For Raman selection rules it can simply explained by electromagnetic field interactions within themolecule’s bonds. The dipole moment, P. induced in a molecule by an external electric field, E, is proportionalto the field as shown in Equation 1.P EEquation 1The proportionality constant is the polarizability of the molecule. The polarizability measures the ease withwhich the electron cloud around a molecule can be distorted. The induced dipole emits or scatters light at theoptical frequency of the incident light wave. The change in the polarizability within the bond gives rise toRaman scattering. Scattering intensity is proportional to the square of the induced dipole moment.If a vibration does not greatly change the polarizability, then the polarizability derivative will be near zero, andthe intensity of the Raman band will be low. The vibrations of a highly polar moiety, such as the O-H bond, areusually weak. An external electric field cannot induce a large change in the dipole moment and stretching orbending the bond does not change, giving weak or not Raman signal. Typical strong Raman scatterers aremoieties with distributed electron clouds, such as carbon-carbon double bonds. The pi-electron cloud of thedouble bond is easily distorted in an external electric field. Bending or stretching the bond changes thedistribution of electron density substantially and causes a large change in induced dipole moment.Figure 3Approver:T. AdamoPage 2 of 5

Last Updated: April 2021Version: 5For polarizable molecules, the incident photon energy can excite vibrational modes of the molecules, yieldingscattered photons which are diminished in energy by the amount of the vibrational transition energies givingrise to the peaks in a Raman spectrum. The number of peaks is related to the number of degrees of freedom amolecule contains (Figure 3).To be Raman active a molecule must have a change in its polarizability. Polarizability is a difficult concept tovisualize. The easiest way to describe it is as the relative tendency of the electron cloud to be distorted from itsnormal shape.Visual Explanation:Figure 4Figure 5A Raman spectrum (Figure 6) is defined by plotting the intensity of this “shifted” light versus frequency resultsin a Raman spectrum of the sample. Generally, Raman spectra are plotted with respect to the laser frequencysuch that the Rayleigh band lies at 0 cm-1. On this scale, the band positions will lie at frequencies thatcorrespond to the energy levels of different functional group vibrations. The Raman spectrum can thus beinterpreted similar to the infrared absorption spectrum.Approver:T. AdamoPage 3 of 5

Last Updated: April 2021Version: 5Figure 6Advantages of Raman spectroscopy1. Sample Preparation; Little to no sample preparation is required is most cases. The sample can be placedinto the holder position and a spectrum can be retrieved.2. Water as a solvent; Water is a weak scatterer; thus, it can be used as a solvent for a ‘difficult sample’ - nospecial accessories are required for measuring in a aqueous solutions.3. No need for nitrogen purging of the optical bench; Water and carbon dioxide vapors are very weakscattering species.4. Cheap and sample holders; Inexpensive glass sample holders are ideal in most cases.5. Cleaner Spectra; Raman spectra are "cleaner" than mid-IR spectra - Raman bands are narrower, andovertone and combination bands are generally weak.6. Wide range of molecules to investigate; The standard spectral range reaches well below 400 cm-1, makingthe technique ideal for both organic and inorganic species.7. Investigate weak IR bands; Raman spectroscopy can be used to measure bands of symmetric linkages whichare weak in an infrared spectrum such as C C, C-S and S-S.Disadvantages of Raman Spectroscopy1. Due to the low Raman intensities the detector sensitivity is paramount2. Instrumentation is more expensive than typical mid-range IR3. Laser can destroy sections of the sample if the power setting is too high4. Fluorescence caused by the laser is a major concern with some samplesApprover:T. AdamoPage 4 of 5

Last Updated: April 2021Version: 5Abbreviated Raman Bond Correlation ChartWavenumber Range –34803150–3480GroupLattice vibrationsXmetal-OC-C aliphatic chainS-SSi-O-SiC-IC-BrC-ClC SC-C aliphatic chainsC-SC-FAromatic ringsC SSulfonamideCarboxylate saltNitroAromatic azoAromatic ringAromatic/hetero ringAmideKetoneCarboxylic acidC CC NUrethaneAldehydeEsterAliphatic esterLactoneAnhydrideAcid chlorideIsothiocyanateAlkyneNitrileTh iolCH2C-CH3Aromatic C-HCH2CH CH ngStrongModerateModerateVery strongVery strongModerateStrongStrongModerateModerateVery strongVery ngStrongStrongStrongStrongModerateModerateContact the TRACES Manager for further details.Approver:T. AdamoPage 5 of 5

Understanding Raman Spectroscopy Principles and Theory Basic Raman Instrumentation Figure 1 Raman Theory Raman scattering is a spectroscopic technique that is complementary to infrared absorption spectroscopy. The technique involves shining a monochromatic light source (i

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