Spatially offset Raman spectroscopy (SORS) for the analysis and detection of packaged pharmaceuticals and concealed drugs

William J. Olds, Esa Jaatinen, Peter Fredericks, Biju Cletus, Helen Panayiotou, Emad L. Izake

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

76 Citations (Scopus)


Spatially offset Raman spectroscopy (SORS) is a powerful new technique for the non-invasive detection and identification of concealed substances and drugs. Here, we demonstrate the SORS technique in several scenarios that are relevant to customs screening, postal screening, drug detection and forensics applications. The examples include analysis of a multi-layered postal package to identify a concealed substance; identification of an antibiotic capsule inside its plastic blister pack; analysis of an envelope containing a powder; and identification of a drug dissolved in a clear solvent, contained in a non-transparent plastic bottle. As well as providing practical examples of SORS, the results highlight several considerations regarding the use of SORS in the field, including the advantages of different analysis geometries and the ability to tailor instrument parameters and optics to suit different types of packages and samples. We also discuss the features and benefits of SORS in relation to existing Raman techniques, including confocal microscopy, wide area illumination and the conventional backscattered Raman spectroscopy. The results will contribute to the recognition of SORS as a promising method for the rapid, chemically specific analysis and detection of drugs and pharmaceuticals.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)69-77
Number of pages9
JournalForensic Science International
Issue number1-3
Publication statusPublished - 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • spatially offset Raman spectroscopy
  • drug detection
  • pharmaceutical analysis
  • laser
  • diffuse light
  • turbid media


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