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Keywords:

  • Raman spectroscopy;
  • intensity normalization;
  • background correction;
  • solvent subtraction;
  • singular value decomposition

Abstract

A semiautomated method combining intensity normalization with effective elimination of the solvent signal and non-Raman background is presented for Raman spectra of biochemical and biological analytes in aqueous solutions. The method is particularly suitable for rapid and effortless preprocessing of extensive datasets taken as a function of gradually varied physicochemical parameters, e.g. analyte and/or ligand concentration, temperature, pH, pressure, ionic strength, time, etc. For intensity normalization, the strong Raman OH stretching band of water in the range of 2700–3900 cm−1 recorded together with the analyte spectrum in the fingerprint region below 1800 cm−1 is employed as internal intensity standard. Concomitant dependences of the solvent Raman spectra are taken into account and, in some cases, turned into advantage. Once the Raman spectra of the solvent are acquired for a particular range of the parameter varied, solvent contribution can be subtracted correctly from any analyte spectrum taken within this range. The procedure presented can be efficiently applied only for the analytes having their own Raman signal in the range of OH stretching vibrations much weaker than that of the solvent. However, this is the case for a great number of biochemical and biological samples. Accuracy, reliability and robustness of the method were tested under the conditions of spontaneous Raman, resonance Raman and surface-enhanced Raman scattering. Serviceability of the method is demonstrated by several real-world examples. Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.