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Here we demonstrate for the first time the viability of characterising non-invasively the subsurface temperature of SERS nanoparticles embedded within biological tissues using spatially offset Raman spectroscopy (SORS). The proposed analytical method (T-SESORS) is applicable in general to diffusely scattering (turbid) media and features high sensitivity and high chemical selectivity. The method relies on monitoring the Stokes and anti-Stokes bands of SERS nanoparticles in depth using SORS. The approach has been conceptually demonstrated using a SORS variant, transmission Raman spectroscopy (TRS), by measuring subsurface temperatures within a slab of porcine tissue (5 mm thick). Root-mean-square errors (RMSEs) of 0.20 °C were achieved when measuring temperatures over ranges between 25 and 44 °C. This unique capability complements the array of existing, predominantly surface-based, temperature monitoring techniques. It expands on a previously demonstrated SORS temperature monitoring capability by adding extra sensitivity stemming from SERS to low concentration analytes. The technique paves the way for a wide range of applications including subsurface, chemical-specific, non-invasive temperature analysis within turbid translucent media including: the human body, subsurface monitoring of chemical (e.g. catalytic) processes in manufacture quality and process control and research. Additionally, the method opens prospects for control of thermal treatment of cancer in vivo with direct non-invasive feedback on the temperature of mediating plasmonic nanoparticles.

Original publication





Faraday discussions

Publication Date





329 - 339


Biomedical Physics, School of Physics, College of Engineering, Mathematics and Physical Sciences, University of Exeter, Exeter, UK.


Animals, Swine, Humans, Neoplasms, Body Temperature, Spectrum Analysis, Raman, Temperature, Feedback, Nanoparticles