Articles about Optics and Photonics, Lasers, Fiber Bragg gratings and FBG sensors

Raman spectroscopy detects tuberculosis

on February 22, 2019

Tuberculosis is one of the most prevalent diseases of our century that can have a lethal outcome. Last year almost ten million people were down with tuberculosis and near two million of them have died. Fortunately, the disease can be cured and prevented, however, its early diagnosis remains difficult.

Blood, MedicThis is the reason why a group of physicists from Russia has developed a new process spectroscopy technique that allows fast identification of antibiotic-resistant bacteria cells that are the agents of tuberculosis. Thus, the technique of process spectroscopy enables to find the bacteria and estimate their resistance to antibiotics without any harm to the biological material.

It should be mentioned that tuberculosis is caused by antibiotic-resistant strains of Mycobacterium tuberculosis, and the disease is highly dangerous because the strains are quite resistant to numerous medicinal drugs. At the same time, its fast identification requires both clinical practice and scientific research.

The researchers offer to use Raman scattering spectroscopy for fast analysis of bacteria cells. The principle of Raman spectroscopy operation is based on the scattering of laser module radiation with a certain wavelength by its sample. Process spectroscopy is a noninvasive technique, to be precise, the tested material is not subject to any mechanical impact or destruction.

Herein, Raman spectroscopy has  numerous benefits over different conventional methods of biophysical analysis, for example, fluorescence spectroscopy, electron microscopy, x-ray scattering, and crystallography that include:

  • numerous organic and inorganic materials can be analyzed;
  • no sample preparation needed;
  • not interfered by water;
  • non-destructive;
  • highly specific technique;
  • fast operation;
  • possibility to make analysis through glass or a polymer packaging;
  • laser system light and Raman scattered light can be transmitted by optical fibers over long distances for remote analysis.

Raman technique was tested by Russian scientists, whereas they used bacterial strains obtained from lung expectorations of tuberculosis patients, as well as from bone tissue samples taken during surgeries.  Before the tests with Raman scattering spectroscopy, the bacteria drug resistance was detected by traditional biological and chemical methods.

Finally, the researchers obtained information about the structure of the cells belonging to different strains pointing the laser beam at different bacteria during process spectroscopy, and it appeared that cells of different strains scatter the light differently.

Optromix is a manufacturer of Raman fiber optic probes that are ideal for process spectroscopy. The probes are miniaturized without compromising its performance, which is enabled by the technology of direct deposition of the dielectric filters at the fiber end faces. It results in a small, cost-effective Raman probe for endoscopy and other applications. If you have any questions or would like to buy Optromix Raman fiber optic probes, please contact us at

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