Practical Raman spectroscopy: an introduction

Peter Vandenabeele
2013 | 192pp | £34.95
ISBN 9780470683194
Reviewed by Suman Lata Sahonta
This book presents Raman scattering in a way that is understandable to non-specialists who may never have studied physical sciences at undergraduate level. This is possibly because the author, Peter Vandenabeele, is professor of archaeology at Ghent University, where non-specialists perform Raman experiments routinely in archaeological research.
The volume starts by describing light scattering, vibrational energy levels and Raman selection rules without resorting to long explanations of quantum and group theory. However, the author does suggest further reading at the end of each chapter. The author also includes boxed intermezzo regions of text that expand on the theoretical background of certain points mentioned in the main text. These are vital to the non-specialist who is perhaps not yet ready to explore more advanced spectroscopy textbooks. 
The second chapter describes how Raman spectral features change under the effects of heat, ambient light, background radiation and fluorescence. Chapter three explains advanced Raman techniques that are now popular thanks to the availability of tunable laser sources, such as surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy and time-of-flight experiments. Chapter four explains the instrumentation in commercial and home-made spectrometers, with descriptions and schematics of lasers, photodetectors and dispersion systems. The final, and perhaps most useful, chapter relates to everyday laboratory practice to ensure that Raman experiments are conducted well, such as calibrating the spectrometer with standard samples, processing spectral data, quantitative spectroscopy, and mapping and imaging techniques.
The book is written in the style of an introductory university lecture, each chapter beginning with a list of learning objectives, which can be later used as a quick reference guide to the chapter contents. Informative schematics and spectra are well-placed so that the reader can navigate each chapter easily. The author uses his own Raman experiments as examples to aid the reader when introducing a new concept. 
A particularly appealing aspect of this publication to new scientists is that it is a slim volume and so lends itself to daily use in the laboratory as a reference tool, particularly since it contains tables of SI units, physical constants and common vibrational modes. A set of problems and comprehensive solutions is given in each chapter, making the book a good learning aid for newcomers to the subject. However, it may not be suitable for experienced researchers in the field.
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