• Raman spectroscopy;
  • inorganic particles;
  • histological sections;


Histological sections of a patient affected by an important respiratory disease were analysed firstly by optical microscope(OM)—crossed polarisers—to identify the presence of incorporated inorganic particles, with particular attention to the fibrous ones. Then, the particles/fibres that were found were studied both with micro-Raman spectroscopy and variable-pressure scanning electron microscopy with energy-dispersive spectroscopy (VP-SEM/EDS). The two techniques allowed the in situ characterisation of the inorganic phases without disintegration of the organic matter. Micro-Raman spectroscopy was able to identify the vibrating chemical groups of the mineral phase associated with the inorganic grain while the crystalline structure was preserved by the biological system. The VP-SEM/EDS characterisation, defining the elemental chemical composition of the analysed particle/fibre, allowed confirmation of the mineral phase deducible from spectroscopic data or its identification with certainty when the spectroscopic data were not exhaustive. Copyright © 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.