6th year of Science on Tap
Thanks to the continued support of UNM, Explora and the National Museum of Nuclear Science and History
A time to eat, drink & talk about science!
Join us Thursday, September 7 at 5:30
Raman spectroscopy: A 90-year story of the intersection of science and technology
University of New Mexico
Chemical and Biological Engineering
Center for Biomedical Engineering
A surgeon needs to determine the boundary between normal and diseased tissue. An art restorer needs to figure out what kinds of coatings were applied to an 18th century masterpiece over the last few centuries. A security officer needs to figure out if a powder contains explosives. A Food and Drug Administration inspector needs to determine if every tablet in a blister pack of imported pharmaceuticals was correctly manufactured. What do these situations have in common? They are all currently addressed using Raman spectroscopy. Early 2018 will mark the 90-year anniversary of the discovery of the Raman effect. The effect, named after its co-discoverer C.V. Raman, occurs when light passes through a transparent material and a very tiny fraction of the light changes color. The scientific community quickly recognized this result as a profound discovery, and Raman received a Nobel Prize only two years later. However, it’s taken 90 years of research and development for the technological impact of the discovery to begin to be fully realized. I will briefly discuss the Raman effect and Raman spectroscopy, and then describe the decades long path of discovery and technology development that has enabled the current widespread use of this method. The trajectory of Raman spectroscopy from its origin in fundamental science to applications in diverse fields spanning from medicine to art is a compelling story that illustrates how interactions between different areas of science and engineering can lead to technologies with broad societal impact.
Andrew P. Shreve is Professor of Chemical and Biological Engineering and Director of the Center for Biomedical Engineering at UNM. His research interests include development of biosensors, optical instrumentation, and spectroscopy or modeling of energy and charge transfer in biological, nanomaterial and chemical systems. Amongst other topics, he has co-authored many scientific papers in the area of Raman spectroscopy, including experimental and theoretical studies of crystalline materials, carbon nanotubes, and proteins.