Raman imaging has been proven to be a powerful analytical technique for the characterization and visualization of chemical components in a range of products, particularly in the food and pharmaceutical industries. The conventional backscattering Raman imaging technique for the spatial analysis of a deep layer suffers from the presence of intense fluorescent and Raman signals originating from the surface layer which mask the weaker subsurface signals. Here, we demonstrated the application of a new reflection amplifying method using a background mirror as a sample holder to increase the Raman signals from a deep layer. The approach is conceptually demonstrated on enhancing the Raman signals from the subsurface layer. Results show that when bilayer samples are scanned on a reflection mirror, the average signals increase 1.62 times for the intense band at 476 cm−1
of starch powder, and average increases of 2.04 times (for the band at 672 cm−1
) for a subsurface layer of high Raman sensitive melamine powder under a 1 mm thick teflon sheet. The method was then applied successfully to detect noninvasively the presence of small polystyrene pieces buried under a 2 mm thick layer of food powder (a case of powdered food adulteration) which otherwise are inaccessible to conventional backscattering Raman imaging. In addition, the increase in the Raman signal to noise ratio when measuring samples on a mirror is an important feature in many applications where high-throughput imaging is of interest. This concept is also applicable in an analogous manner to other disciplines, such as pharmaceutical where the Raman signals from deeper zones are typically, substantially diluted due to the interference from the surface layer.
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