Diagnostic Raman spectroscopy for the forensic detection of biomaterials and the preservation of cultural heritage

Edwards, Howell; Munshi, Tasnim
July 2005
Analytical & Bioanalytical Chemistry;Jul2005, Vol. 382 Issue 6, p1398
Academic Journal
This paper reviews the contributions of analytical Raman spectroscopy to the non-destructive characterisation of biological materials of relevance to forensic science investigations, including the sourcing of resins and the identification of the biodegradation of art and archaeological artefacts. The advantages of Raman spectroscopy for non-destructive analysis are well-appreciated; however, the ability to record molecular information about organic and inorganic species present in a heterogeneous specimen at the same time, the insensitivity of the Raman scattering process to water and hydroxyl groups, which removes the necessity for sample desiccation, and the ease of illumination for samples of very small and very large sizes and unusual shapes are also apparent. Several examples are used to illustrate the application of Raman spectroscopic techniques to the characterisation of forensic biomaterials and for the preservation of cultural heritage through case studies in the following areas: wall-paintings and rock art, human and animal tissues and skeletal remains, fabrics, resins and ivories.


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