Confocal Raman Imaging Symposium Brings Together Theory and Applications

October 17, 2011

With 95 attendees, the 8th Confocal Raman Imaging Symposium, organized by WITec (Ulm, Germany), took place in Ulm, Germany, on October 5 and 6, 2011. Over the years, the symposium has evolved to become an important venue for the discussion of the latest developments in high-resolution Raman imaging.

With 95 attendees, the 8th Confocal Raman Imaging Symposium, organized by WITec (Ulm, Germany), took place in Ulm, Germany, on October 5 and 6, 2011. Over the years, the symposium has evolved to become an important venue for the discussion of the latest developments in high-resolution Raman imaging. Featuring a global lineup of Raman imaging experts, the symposium gave scientists the opportunity to see the newest applications and relevant instrument configurations.

Opening the conference was a keynote talk from Sebastian Schlücker from the University of Osnabrück, Germany, looking at the fundamentals of Raman spectroscopy and its application in microscopy. Schlücker highlighted classical and quantum-mechanical descriptions of the Raman effect and then reviewed the theory by addressing the audience with some quiz questions. Olaf Hollricher, managing director of R&D at WITec, then outlined the necessity of throughput-optimized system configurations relevant for diffraction-limited and high-resolution confocal Raman imaging.

For more comprehensive sample analysis, it is essential to combine Raman with other imaging techniques. Reflecting that need, Ute Schmidt, an applications manager at WITec, discussed the possibilities of a Raman-AFM combination, followed which Thomas Dieing, WITec’s director of customer support, introduced the company’s new “TrueSurface Microscopy” mode for topographic confocal Raman imaging.

In the first applications session, Alois Lugstein from the University of Vienna (Vienna, Austria), reported on the application of Raman spectroscopy to the study of nanowires, with a special focus on detectable stress fields. Adam Schwartzberg of Sandia National Laboratories (Livermore, California), provided insight into hyperspectral imaging on the nanoscale, also highlighting near-field Raman imaging with active plasmonic probes. In photovoltaic research, Raman imaging can contribute to the development of optimized solar cell devices, as reported by Bernd Meidel from Schott Solar (Alzenau, Germany). Anna Belu of Medtronic, Inc. (Minneapolis, Minnesota), described how to characterize surfaces and interfaces of materials relevant to the medical device industry.

During the hour-long contributed poster session, which included nearly 20 presentations, the participants discussed numerous applications, and many delegates were impressed by the variety of successful applications of Raman imaging in various research areas.

Another highlight of the conference was the dinner talk given by Wolfgang Kiefer, professor emeritus of the Physical Chemistry Institute at the University (Würzbug, Germany), who was one of pioneers of Raman spectroscopy in Germany and who even met Sir Chandrasekhara Raman personally. Kiefer’s eloquent and humorous historical review of the early days of Raman spectroscopy was well received by the delegates.

On the second day, an extensive instrumentation, accessories, and software demonstration in the WITec application laboratories gave the attendees an overview on how to successfully perform Raman imaging experiments.

All in all, it was a memorable Symposium, bringing theory, instrumentation, and various scientific fields of application together. Overall, the participants in the Symposium enjoyed the program and their time in Ulm, as reflected in the post-conference survey results, in which 96% of attendees said they would recommend the event to a colleague.