Noise Sources and Requirements for Confocal Raman Spectrometers in Biosensor Applications
in: Sensors (2021)
Raman spectroscopy probes the biochemical composition of samples in a non-destructive, non-invasive and label-free fashion yielding specific information on a molecular level. Nevertheless, the Raman effect is very weak. The detection of all inelastically scattered photons with highest efficiency is therefore crucial as well as the identification of all noise sources present in the system. Here we provide a study for performance comparison and assessment of different spectrometers for confocal Raman spectroscopy in biosensor applications. A low-cost, home-built Raman spectrometer with a complementary metal-oxide-semiconductor (CMOS) camera, a middle price-class mini chargecoupled device (CCD) Raman spectrometer and a laboratory grade confocal Raman system with a deeply cooled CCD detector are compared. It is often overlooked that the sample itself is the most important “optical” component in a Raman spectrometer and its properties contribute most significantly to the signal-to-noise ratio. For this purpose, different representative samples: a crystalline silicon wafer, a polypropylene sample and E. coli bacteria were measured under similar conditions using the three confocal Raman spectrometers. We show that biosensor applications do not in every case profit from the most expensive equipment. Finally, a small Raman database of three different bacteria species is set up with the middle price-class mini CCD Raman spectrometer in order to demonstrate the potential of a compact setup for pathogen discrimination.