Raman spectroscopy has been recognized to be a powerful tool to study cells and tissues because the method provides molecular information without external markers such as stains or radioactive labels. To overcome the disadvantage of low signal intensities from most biomolecules, enhancement effects are utilized. A non-linear variant of Raman spectroscopy called coherent anti-Stokes Raman spectroscopy (CARS) belongs to the most promising techniques because it combines signal enhancement due to the coherent nature of the process with further advantages such as directional emission, narrow spectral bandwidth and no disturbing interference with autofluorescence. This review describes briefly the principles of the methods and summarizes applications to cells and tissues that are expected to gain significance in the future such as the combination with imaging approaches, microscopy, optical traps and fiber-optic probes.
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