International Day of Women and Girls in Science 2022

Friday, February 11th was International Day of Women and Girls in Science 2022.  This day was declared in 2015 as a way to recognize the achievements of women in STEM disciplines as well as encourage the participation by girls in these fields[1].  The increase in diversity of the scientific community promotes innovation and advancement by allowing people of different backgrounds to build on existing knowledge together.  While there has been an increase of women in science in more recent years, the majority of people in scientific fields are male[2].  We want to highlight a few different women-led projects in an array of scientific fields utilizing Raman spectroscopy to illustrate the diversity and encourage continued participation of female scientists.

One field Raman spectroscopy is being used in frequently is space exploration.  B&W Tek i-Raman 532nm have been investigated as potential method to determine the composition of the terrain on a planet like Mars or on the moon as well as detect potential traces of life[3,4].  Sandra Manigand Potin et. al. (2021) from the Centre for Terrestrial and Planetary Exploration at the University of Winnipeg conducted a study investigating the composition of a meteorite found in Northwestern Africa using Raman Spectroscopy[4].  She used a B&W Tek i-Raman portable system with a 532nm excitation source for the analysis.  Raman spectra from eleven different areas on the meteorite successfully matched to known minerals found on earth, meaning the qualitative composition of the lunar meteorite could be determined with Raman.  Space exploration is one of dozens of applications that women in science are studying.

Another application by women using Raman spectroscopy is by research scientists at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, USA.  Raman is used in the analysis of art and historical items as a way to discover how a process was originally performed and as a method to validate the authenticity of a piece of work.  In their research, Adriana Rizzo and Nobuko Shibayama used a combination of analytical methods including Surface Enhanced Raman Spectroscopy (SERS) to analyze a varnish from a room preserved from the early 18th century[5].  Maite Maguregui, Associate Professor, Department of Analytical Chemistry, University of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU), focused on the conservation of mosaics from ancient Rome by characterizing its constituents using a B&W Tek portable spectrometer paired with BWSpec software[6].  (See more about her research here).  Raman is an ideal analytical method for such research because of its non-destructive nature.

Forensic science often uses Raman as a means to identify unknown substances pertaining to a crime.  Laura Ortiz-Herrero et. al. (2021) Analytical Chemistry Department, Faculty of Science and Technology, University of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU), used Raman spectroscopy as a way of estimating the time between when a human died and when the remains were discovered[7].  This is done by observing changes in Raman spectra over time of bones as they degrade.  Carmen García-Ruiz and her team, Department of Analytical Chemistry, Physical Chemistry, and Chemical Engineering and University Institute of Research in Police Sciences, University of Alcalá, studied the limit of detection of common explosives on different types of fabrics in addition to investigating how different mixtures of fuels and oxidizers affect the identification of explosives[8].  She used a B&W Tek i-Raman Pro 785 with a portable confocal microscope to pinpoint the samples.

Environmental engineering makes use of Raman as well.  Research by April Gu et. al. (2018) Civil and Environmental Engineering Department, Cornell University, used Raman in microbiology to analyze single cells in order to profile the phenotypes of the cell, identify, and characterize microbial populations containing unique traits[9]. Silvia Merlino et. al. (2020) Institute of Marine Science, National Research Council, used the i-Raman Plus 785 portable spectrometer with a microscope to characterize the varieties of microplastics that accumulate on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea. By analyzing the microplastics, the source of these materials can be found and this pollution which harms sea life globally can be reduced[10].

Take a moment today to share some appreciation for women in science and encourage young women to pursue careers in STEM.  For more information about B&W Tek’s Raman systems, visit



[1]          United Nations, International Day of Women and Girls in Science (accessed 2022 -02 -07).

[2] International Day of Women and Girls in Science (accessed 2022 -02 -07).

[3]          Lalla, E. A.; Sanz-Arranz, A.; Lopez-Reyes, G.; Sansano, A.; Medina, J.; Schmanke, D.; Klingelhoefer, G.; Rodríguez-Losada, J. A.; Martínez-Frías, J.; Rull, F. Raman–Mössbauer–XRD Studies of Selected Samples from “Los Azulejos” Outcrop: A Possible Analogue for Assessing the Alteration Processes on Mars. Adv. Space Res. 2016, 57 (11), 2385–2395.

[4]          Potin, S. M.; Manigand, S.; Turenne, N.; Sidhu, S.; Connell, S.; Applin, D.; Cloutis, E.; Caudill, C.; Newmann, J.; Lalla, E.; Lymer, E.; Freemantle, J.; Daly, M.; Kruzelecky, R. Raman Spectroscopy Investigation of Lunar Surface Endmembers and Analogues; EPSC2021-97; Copernicus Meetings, 2021.

[5]          Rizzo, A.; Shibayama, N.; Kirby, D. P. A Multi-Analytical Approach for the Identification of Aloe as a Colorant in Oil–Resin Varnishes. Anal. Bioanal. Chem. 2011, 399 (9), 3093–3107.

[6]          Marcaida, I.; Maguregui, M.; Morillas, H.; Prieto-Taboada, N.; Veneranda, M.; Fdez-Ortiz de Vallejuelo, S.; Martellone, A.; De Nigris, B.; Osanna, M.; Madariaga, J. M. In Situ Non-Invasive Multianalytical Methodology to Characterize Mosaic Tesserae from the House of Gilded Cupids, Pompeii. Herit. Sci. 2019, 7 (1), 3.

[7]          Ortiz-Herrero, L.; Uribe, B.; Armas, L. H.; Alonso, M. L.; Sarmiento, A.; Irurita, J.; Alonso, R. M.; Maguregui, M. I.; Etxeberria, F.; Bartolomé, L. Estimation of the Post-Mortem Interval of Human Skeletal Remains Using Raman Spectroscopy and Chemometrics. Forensic Sci. Int. 2021, 329, 111087.

[8]          Videira-Quintela, D.; Zapata, F.; García-Ruiz, C. Detection of Microscopic Traces of Explosive Residues on Textile Fabrics by Raman Spectroscopy. J. Raman Spectrosc. 2018, 49 (10), 1668–1677.

[9]          Li, Y.; Cope, H. A.; Rahman, S. M.; Li, G.; Nielsen, P. H.; Elfick, A.; Gu, A. Z. Toward Better Understanding of EBPR Systems via Linking Raman-Based Phenotypic Profiling with Phylogenetic Diversity. Environ. Sci. Technol. 2018, 52 (15), 8596–8606.

[10]        Merlino, S.; Locritani, M.; Bernardi, G.; Como, C.; Legnaioli, S.; Palleschi, V.; Abbate, M. Spatial and Temporal Distribution of Chemically Characterized Microplastics within the Protected Area of Pelagos Sanctuary (NW Mediterranean Sea): Focus on Natural and Urban Beaches. Water 2020, 12 (12), 3389.

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