A key design parameter in spatially offset Raman spectroscopy (SORS) is the choice of offset distance between the illumination and collection areas. To investigate this choice, we performed SORS measurements on a simple two-layer chemical phantom. We show that while the SORS ratio, or the ratio of signal from the bottom layer to the top layer, monotonically increases with spatial offset, the signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) does not. Specifically, we show that there exists a specific spatial offset that yields the best SNR for signal originating in the bottom layer of a two-layer sample. We also show that this SNR-optimal offset depends upon the strength of the particular Raman band. This work presents the considerations that should be taken into account when designing optical probes for use in SORS.

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