The objective of this study is to use time-resolved (TR) Raman spectroscopy, spatially offset Raman spectroscopy (SORS), and a combination of these approaches to obtain high quality Raman spectra from materials hidden underneath an opaque layer. Both TR Raman and SORS are advanced techniques that allow for an increased relative selectivity of photons from deeper layers within a sample. Time-resolved detection reduces fluorescence background, and the selectivity for the second layer is improved. By combining this with spatially offset excitation we additionally increased selectivity for deeper layers. Test samples were opaque white polymer blocks of several mm thicknesses. Excitation was carried out with a frequency-doubled Ti:sapphire laser at 460 nm, 3 ps pulse width and 76 MHz repetition rate. Detection was either with a continuous-wave CCD camera or in time-resolved mode using an intensified CCD camera with a 250 ps gate width. The Raman photons were collected in backscatter mode, with or without lateral offset. By measuring the delay of the Raman signal from the second layer (polyethylene terephthalate/PET/Arnite), the net photon migration speeds through Teflon, polythene, Delrin and Nylon were determined. Raman spectra could be obtained from a second layer of PET through Teflon layers up to 7 mm of thickness. The ability to obtain chemical information through layers of diffusely scattering materials has powerful potential for biomedical applications.
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