Laser Raman spectroscopy is a non-destructive analytical technique based on the scattering of light. The laser light interacts with the molecular vibrations and phonons of an incident material, which causes an energy shift that is measured by the spectrometer. The spectrum produced corresponds to the chemistry and structure of the incident material.
Traditional optical analysis is inherently open to bias due to the heavy reliance on interpretations made by the microscope user. Automated Raman spectroscopy utilises image analysis to rapidly analyse large amounts of grains (>500) in a heavy mineral sample. Furthermore, Raman spectroscopy has been demonstrated to reveal chemical and structural differences between single minerals. Two minerals which have received a large amount of attention are garnet and zircon, and therefore it is possible to quantitatively evaluate the geochemistry of garnets analysed using Raman spectroscopy, and qualitatively evaluate the structural damage and trace element geochemistry of zircons analysed.