(Received 22 February 1977; accepted 10 August 1977)
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The Raman effect, first reported nearly 50 years ago, was of greater interest theoretically than practically until recent years. The comparative inefficiency of mercury vapor lamps for stimulating the Raman effect, and the corresponding necessity for large quantities of sample, precluded any general interest in the use of this technique in the laboratory. Recently, the availability of high-powered lasers for light sources and the increased sophistication of spectrophotometric instrumentation have stimulated new interest in Raman spectroscopy. A large body of literature has evolved, relating chiefly to the elucidation of molecular structure [1–3]. Thus Raman spectra can extend and complement the type of structural information available from infrared spectroscopy. However, infrared spectra have also long been used in the forensic laboratory to identify organic compounds such as drugs on a “fingerprint” basis with little or no assignment of bands to specific portions of a molecule. In the same way, a Raman spectrum is unique for a particular compound and thus provides positive identification of that compound.
Research chemist, FBI Laboratory, Washington, D.C.,
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