Water is an essential component that plays a crucial role in human health and worldwide society. Unfortunately, now the quality of potable water remains on the quite low level because of numerous natural and human activities, especially, such as industrial and transport emissions.
Moreover, the number of persons that do not have any access to safe potable water is increasing. That is why the issue of water quality monitoring takes pride of place. However, the possible solution can be the use of Raman spectroscopy that is a highly promising monitoring technology.
All the time it was necessary to develop compact, easy-to-use, fast and very sensitive tool for water quality control. Nevertheless, most of the techniques for water analysis used in laboratories demand skilled personnel, they are also quite expensive, and samples should be transported to the laboratory.
For example, vibrational spectroscopy is touchless, non-invasive tool for fast detection of the most typical chemical and microbial pollutants in water that requires minimal sample preparation.
Infrared or IR spectroscopy is one of the most often used vibration technique that allows analyzing the structure of a molecule. It includes the middle infrared or MIR spectroscopy that is considered to be the most advanced method, but it is highly effective only for liquid samples.
The near infrared or NIR spectroscopy is a type of vibrational spectroscopy that is more suitable for inorganic material detection and direct water monitoring than MIR due to its weak water absorption despite the fact that NIR is less well-established.
Thus, Raman spectroscopy leaves other vibrational spectroscopy methods behind, especially, in such fields of application as biomedicine, tissue imaging, and liquid samples monitoring. Raman spectroscopy is ideal for organic pollutant detection because the technique has a high level of detection efficiency, uses low noise, stable and high power laser diodes, spectrometers with high throughput and resolution. Moreover, Raman spectroscopy has greatly improved the detection limit.
In spite of the fact that this method is the best way for water monitoring because water is a weak Raman scatterer, Raman spectroscopy has a low cross-section and high fluorescence background, it also requires complex, huge devices, that is why the use of this type of spectroscopy is limited to laboratory only.
Nevertheless, new surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy or SERS is the solution of the above difficulties. The development of nanotechnologies opens new opportunities for the spectroscopy and makes the detection of very low concentration detection in water possible.
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