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The aim of this research was to develop a novel approach to probe non-invasively the composition of inorganic chemicals buried deep in large volume biological samples. The method is based on advanced Transmission Raman Spectroscopy (TRS) permitting chemical specific detection within a large sampling volume. The approach could be beneficial to chemical identification of the breast calcifications detected during mammographic X-ray procedures. The chemical composition of a breast calcification reflects the pathology of the surrounding tissue, malignant or benign and potentially the grade of malignancy. However, this information is not available from mammography, leading to excisional biopsy and histopathological assessment for a definitive diagnosis. Here we present, for the first time, a design of a new high performance deep Raman instrument and demonstrate its capability to detect type II calcifications (calcium hydroxyapatite) at clinically relevant concentrations and depths of around 40 mm in phantom tissue. This is around double the penetration depth achieved with our previous instrument design and around two orders of magnitude higher than that possible when using conventional Raman spectroscopy.

Original publication





Journal of biophotonics

Publication Date





School of Physics and Astronomy, University of Exeter, Streatham Campus, EX4 4QL, Exeter, UK.


Animals, Swine, Calcinosis, Durapatite, Spectrum Analysis, Raman, Sensitivity and Specificity, Phantoms, Imaging