Raman microspectroscopy can be used effectively to study very small samples or to study small areas within a transparent sample. With the application of the technique of confocal microscopy to a Raman microscope, the depth resolution of the instrument can be enhanced considerably. Confocal microscopy uses a pinhole, placed in the back image plane of the microscope objective, to block light from outside the focal plane. In this way the signal from the small volume element one wants to study can be better separated from the signals arising from the surrounding material. In this paper we show that the performance of the confocal Raman microscope can be described satisfactorily by geometrical optics. Furthermore, we have performed measurements to determine the depth resolution of our system for different combinations of objectives and pinholes. Finally, we report on the applications of this technique to different polymer systems, such as multilayer foils, fibers, and fiber composites.

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