Background: Spectroscopic imaging based on the spontaneous Raman scattering effects
can provide unique fingerprint information in relation to the vibration bands of molecules. Due to its
advantages of high chemical specificity, non-invasive detection capability, low sensitivity to water,
and no special sample pretreatment, Raman Spectroscopic Imaging (RSI) has become an invaluable
tool in the field of biomedicine and medicinal chemistry.
Methods: There are three methods to implement RSI, including point scanning, line scanning and
wide-field RSI. Point-scanning can achieve two-and three-dimensional imaging of target samples.
High spectral resolution, full spectral range and confocal features render this technique highly attractive.
However, point scanning based RSI is a time-consuming process that can take several hours
to map a small area. Line scanning RSI is an extension of point scanning method, with an imaging
speed being 300-600 times faster. In the wide-field RSI, the laser illuminates the entire region of
interest directly and all the images then collected for analysis. In general, it enables more accurate
chemical imaging at faster speeds.
Results: This review focuses on the recent advances in RSI, with particular emphasis on the latest
developments on instrumentation and the related applications in biomedicine and medicinal chemistry.
Finally, we prospect the development trend of RSI as well as its potential to translation from
bench to bedside.
Conclusion: RSI is a powerful technique that provides unique chemical information, with a great
potential in the fields of biomedicine and medicinal chemistry.