Enhanced optical coupling and Raman scattering via microscopic interface engineering
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© 2017 Author(s). Spontaneous Raman scattering is an extremely powerful tool for the remote detection and identification of various chemical materials. However, when those materials are contained within strongly scattering or turbid media, as is the case in many biological and security related systems, the sensitivity and range of Raman signal generation and detection is severely limited. Here, we demonstrate that through microscopic engineering of the optical interface, the optical coupling of light into a turbid material can be substantially enhanced. This improved coupling facilitates the enhancement of the Raman scattering signal generated by molecules within the medium. In particular, we detect at least two-orders of magnitude more spontaneous Raman scattering from a sample when the pump laser light is focused into a microscopic hole in the surface of the sample. Because this approach enhances both the interaction time and interaction region of the laser light within the material, its use will greatly improve the range and sensitivity of many spectroscopic techniques, including Raman scattering and fluorescence emission detection, inside highly scattering environments.
author list (cited authors)
Thompson, J. V., Hokr, B. H., Kim, W., Ballmann, C. W., Applegate, B. E., Jo, J. A., ... Yakovlev, V. V.