Raman chemical imaging microscopy is a powerful technique for the characterization of a wide host of materials, including inorganic species. The technique makes use of a liquid crystal tunable filter (LCTF) imaging spectrometer that is integrated within an infinity-corrected optical microscope. The imaging system provides the performance of a dispersive Raman spectrometer at every pixel of the charge-coupled device (CCD) detector used to capture the Raman image.
We are currently applying Raman microscopy to the chemical imaging analysis of mineral composition and phase chemistry found in meteorites and terrestrial minerals. Determination of the chemical composition and structure of mineral components is often useful in developing an understanding of the petrologic process that formed the minerals, including those minerals that have been exposed to water. This is of particular interest in light of recent promising evidence of past life in Martian meteorites.