Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

The ability of Spatially Offset Raman Spectroscopy (SORS) to obtain chemically specific information from below the sample surface makes it a promising technique for non-invasive in vivo diagnosis of bone conditions by sampling bone through the skin. The depth below a surface interrogated by SORS depends on the system's optical properties and is difficult to estimate for complex bone material. This paper uses 830 nm laser excitation to investigate the influence of bone mineralization on photon migration properties in deer antler cortex, equine metacarpal cortex and whale tympanic bulla. Thin slices form each type of bone (thickness: 0.6-1.0 mm) were cut and put together on top of each other forming stacks with a total thickness of 4.1-4.7 mm. A 0.38 mm thin slice of polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) served as a test material for Raman signal recovery and was placed in between the individual bone slices within the stack. At SORS offsets of 8.0-9.5 mm Raman bands of materials not present in healthy bone (e.g. PTFE as an example) can be recovered through 4.4-4.7 mm of cortical bone tissue, depending on mineralization level and porosity. These findings significantly increase our understanding of SORS analysis through bones of different composition and provide information that is vital to determine the value of SORS as a medical diagnostic technique. The data serve to define which SORS offset is best deployed for the non-invasive detection of chemically specific markers associated with infection, degeneration and disease or cancer within bone.

Original publication





The Analyst

Publication Date





3219 - 3226


Central Laser Facility, Research Complex at Harwell, STFC Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, Harwell Campus, Didcot OX11 0QX, UK. and UCL Institute of Orthopaedics and Musculoskeletal Science, Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital, London HA7 4LP, UK.


Bone and Bones, Horns, Animals, Deer, Horses, Spectrum Analysis, Raman, Lasers, Bone Density, Photons