This study provides experimentally determined values for the actual μ-Raman spectroscopy sampling depth in zirconia ceramics (ZrO<sub>2</sub>) via line scans on a wedge-shaped sample. Common instrumental settings with metallurgical objective lenses in dry air, argon-ion, and helium-neon laser radiation of approximately 10 mW were chosen. Under those conditions effective sampling depths, defined as the depth at which 99% of the information is recorded, range from 20 to more than 50 μm, depending on the numerical aperture of the lens and the laser wavelength. These results elucidate the pitfalls of the investigation of surface phenomena in zirconia ceramics such as low-temperature degradation or mechanically induced phase transformations by Raman spectroscopy.
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