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Comparison of Vibrational Spectroscopic Techniques for the Characterization of Human Gallstones

Volume 49, Number 7 (July 1995) Page 1028-1036

Wentrup-Byrne, E.; Rintoul, L.; Smith, J.L.; Fredericks, P.M.

A suite of human gallstones was investigated by vibrational spectroscopic techniques with a view to developing an effective characterization procedure. Using infrared microscopy, microspectroscopic mapping, infrared photoacoustic spectroscopy (PAS), and FT-Raman spectroscopy, we have examined both the chemical composition and the microstructure of the different categories of human gallstones. We show how infrared microscopy can be used to determine the chemical identity of particular microstructural features of a stone. Infrared mapping produces functional group maps of the surface of a gallstone and shows the actual distribution of the different chemical components. Good fluorescence-free FT-Raman spectra were obtained from all categories of stones except black stones, which gave a fluorescence background with no observable Raman spectrum. Of the vibrational techniques studied, PAS proved the most suited to the spectroscopic categorization of gallstones because data for the whole stone can be obtained with minimal sample preparation. The advantages and disadvantages of each technique are discussed.