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We investigate the subsurface composition of turbid materials at the micro scale by means of a portable non-invasive technique, micro-spatially offset Raman spectroscopy (micro-SORS), combined with shifted excitation Raman difference spectroscopy (SERDS). This combination enables the microscale layer analysis and allows to deal effectively with highly fluorescing samples as well as ambient light, all in a form of an in-house portable prototype device optimised for applications in heritage science. The instrument comprises ability to simultaneously collect multiple spectra by means of an optical fibre bundle, thus reducing the dead time and simplifying the ease of deployment of the technique. The performance of the synergy between micro-SORS and 785 nm SERDS dual-wavelength diode laser is demonstrated on a stratified mock-up painting samples including highly fluorescing painted layers. This instrumental approach could be ground-breaking in heritage science, due to the largely unmet need of analysing the molecular composition of subsurface of artworks non-invasively and in situ, and in the presence of fluorescent background and ambient light. Moreover, many other fields are expected to benefit from this technological advancement such as solar energy, forensic and food analytical areas.

Original publication





The Analyst

Publication Date



Institute of Heritage Science, National Research Council (CNR-ISPC), Via Cozzi 53, 20125, Milan, Italy.