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Normal Raman and surface enhanced Raman spectroscopic experiments with thin layer chromatography spots of essential amino acids using different laser excitation sources.

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  • 1Institute of Chemistry, Chemical Research Center, Hungarian Academy of Sciences, PO Box 17, H-1525 Budapest, Hungary.


A comparative study of the feasibility and efficiency of Raman spectroscopic detection of thin layer chromatography (TLC) spots of some weak Raman scatterers (essential amino acids, namely, glycine and L-forms of alanine, serine, valine, proline, hydroxyproline, and phenylalanine) was carried out using four different visible and near-infrared (NIR) laser radiations with wavelengths of 532, 633, 785, and 1064 nm. Three types of commercial TLC plates were tested and the possibility of inducing surface enhanced Raman scattering (SERS) by means of Ag-sol was also investigated. The spectra obtained from spotted analytes adsorbed on TLC plates were of very different quality strongly depending on the excitation wavelength, the wetness of the samples, and the compounds examined. The best results were obtained with the simple silica TLC plate, and it has been established that the longest wavelength (lowest energy) NIR excitation of a Nd:YAG laser is definitely more suitable for generating normal Raman scattering of analyte spots than any of the visible radiations. Concerning SERS with application of Ag-sol to the TLC spots, 1-3 orders of magnitude enhancement was observed with wet samples, the greatest with the 532 nm radiation and gradually smaller with the longer wavelength excitations. It is shown, however, that due to severe adsorption-induced spectral distortions and increased sensitivity to microscopic inhomogeneity of the sample, none of the SERS spectra obtained with the dispersive Raman microscope operating in the visible region were superior to the best NIR normal FT-Raman spectra, as far as sample identification is concerned.

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