Abstract

We investigated the ability to perform deep subsurface Raman spectroscopy in turbid media using a simple fiber optic volume probe. Being able to collect Raman signals from regions deep within a biological sample provides the ability to noninvasively study underlying living tissue and tissue engineered constructs with high chemical specificity. Spatially offset Raman spectroscopy has shown great potential for obtaining subsurface Raman signals in biological samples. The applicability of the method for in vivo studies depends on the system complexity and small size probes are often desirable. Most real-time studies on human patients utilizing Raman spectroscopy have been performed with easy-to-handle miniaturized probes. Here we show both experimentally and theoretically that the sampling depth from a simple volume probe can be controlled by changing the probe to sample distance effectively suppressing Raman and fluorescence contributions from shallow sample layers while favoring the collection of signals from deeper layers. Relative spectral intensities as function of probe to sample distance were investigated for layered phantoms of poly(methyl methacrylate) and trans-stilbene and compared with theory. The volume probe was then utilized for the collection of spectra from phantoms mimicking in vivo transcutaneous measurement configurations of bone and engineered scaffold as well as from an ex vivo sample of bone and soft tissue. Together the results show that Raman fiber optic volume probes can be utilized for subsurface Raman spectroscopy in turbid media, providing a simple alternative to spatially offset Raman systems for, e.g., noninvasive monitoring and studying mineralized tissue and implanted scaffolds in vivo.

© 2019 The Author(s)

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