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Assessment of photon migration for subsurface probing in selected types of bone using spatially offset Raman spectroscopy

Research output: Contribution to Journal/MagazineJournal articlepeer-review

  • Kay Sowoidnich
  • John Churchwell
  • Kevin Buckley
  • Jemma Gillian Kerns
  • Allen Goodship
  • Anthony Parker
  • Pavel Matousek
Article number988719
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>27/04/2016
<mark>Journal</mark>Proceedings of SPIE
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Bone diseases and disorders are a growing challenge in aging populations; so effective diagnostic and therapeutic solutions are now essential to manage the demands of healthcare sectors effectively. Spatially offset Raman spectroscopy (SORS) allows for chemically specific sub-surface probing and has a great potential to become an in vivo tool for early non-invasive detection of bone conditions. Bone is a complex hierarchical material and the volume probed by SORS is dependent on its optical properties. Understanding and taking into account the variations in diffuse scattering properties of light in various bone types is essential for the effective development and optimization of SORS as a diagnostic in vivo tool for characterizing bone disease. This study presents SORS investigations at 830 nm excitation on two specific types of bone with differing mineralization levels. Thin slices of bone from horse metacarpal cortex (0.6 mm thick) and whale bulla (1.0 mm thick) were cut and stacked on top of each other (4-7 layers with a total thickness of 4.1 mm). To investigate the depth origin of the detected Raman signal inside the bone a 0.38 mm thin Teflon slice was used as test sample and inserted in between the layers of stacked bone slices. For both types of bone it could be demonstrated that chemically specific Raman signatures different from those of normal bone can be retrieved through 3.8-4.0 mm of overlying bone material with a spatial offset of 7-8 mm. The determined penetration depths can be correlated with the mechanical and optical properties of the specimens. The findings of this study increase our understanding of SORS analysis of bone and thus have impact for medical diagnostic applications e.g. enabling the non-invasive detection of spectral changes caused by degeneration, infection or cancer deep inside the bone matrix.