During the past decade, the use of portable Raman analyzers for field
measurements has grown dramatically. However, most analyzers use 785 nm excitation
lasers that can cause permanent eye damage. To overcome this safety concern, we have
built a portable Fourier transform (FT) Raman analyzer using a 1550 nm retina-safe
excitation laser and have compared its performance to our 1064 nm FT-Raman analyzer,
which uses the same optical design. Raman theory predicts approximately five times
lower peak intensities at 1550 nm. Although we found that intensities were as much
as 20 times less intense, the analyzer is still capable of measuring spectra of
sufficient quality to identify and differentiate chemicals.
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