Raman Ponderings

Wolfgang Kiefer, Editor-in-Chief
Journal of Raman Spectroscopy

As an „Old Guy“ working in Raman Spectroscopy more than four decades, it gives me great pleasure to write a few words for the new blog called “Raman Ponderings”.

I remember the days in the early to mid sixtieth when we needed hours to get a reasonable Raman spectrum even from a pure liquid using discharge lamps, prism spectrometers and photographic plates. Young Raman investigators probably cannot imagine how cumbersome it had been those days to get a reasonable Raman spectrum without a laser, a grating spectrometer and a CCD camera. Nowadays such spectra are recorded in seconds – what a tremendous improvement!

In addition, Raman spectroscopy, with its profound theoretical basis and multifaceted practical applicability has made great contributions in the past to the scientific progress in general and it has combined with and permeated other fields of natural sciences. This has brought about many new research frontiers and resulted in an explosion of research activities crossing the boundaries of scientific disciplines. It is especially anticipated that it plays an even more important role in the research of nano- or sub-nano samples of various kinds and of single molecules. Such feature of Raman spectroscopy requires that Raman spectroscopists renew their concepts and readjust themselves to the new developing trends and challenging tasks. Sometimes I am asking myself what cannot be done by Raman spectroscopy - a wonderful analytical tool for science and technology which was discovered by Sir Chandrasekara Venkata Raman and K.S. Krishnan eight decades ago at the Indian Association for the Cultivation of Science in Calcutta, India. I am looking forward to many more years of significant advancements in this research field. In particular, the recent rapid development in microCARS spectroscopy makes me quite happy due to the fact that Raman people can contribute significantly to the research in many fundamental research disciplines with a fantastic new microscopic tool working on a molecular level. The incorporation of coherent control and adaptive techniques, the combination with tip-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (TERS), as well as the use of a special software to derive a “normal” Raman spectrum out of the complicated CARS spectrum makes a CARS microscope to a superb instrument to get very fast and even two- or three-dimensionally, molecular spectroscopic information with extreme high spatial resolution. What a wonderful time – I wish I would be 40 years younger and be able to actively contribute more to this field.

August 2008 Blog