— September 29, 2023
At the forefront of cutting-edge research at New Mexico Tech, we have been utilizing Raman spectroscopy to unravel the mysteries locked within minerals. By harnessing the power of visible and ultraviolet lasers, we can unlock a plethora of information. So, you may be asking, what is Raman spectroscopy? In simple terms, it's a technique that uses laser light to interact with the atomic vibrations of a material, producing a unique "fingerprint" of its molecular composition. By analyzing the scattered light, we are able to identify and characterize minerals such as apatite, fluorite, and calcite. My research takes this technique to new heights by exploring fluid and melt inclusions within minerals and identifying the chemical species they contain. These entrapped pockets of fluids, solids and gasses preserve a snapshot of the mineral's history, offering clues about a mineral deposit’s formation and evolution. Imagine holding a mineral in your hand and, with the help of Raman spectroscopy, being able to decipher its molecular makeup. Oh, the stories it can tell. From identifying rare minerals to understanding chemical processes, this technique has far-reaching implications in fields such as geology, geochemistry, mining, and material science. So, next time you stumble upon a dazzling mineral, remember that there are unseeable marvels waiting to be explored, thanks to the capabilities of Raman spectroscopy. Keep your eyes peeled for more exciting discoveries from our technicians in the Raman Spectroscopy Lab at New Mexico Tech!
— Eric Ruggles (MSc student)