Laser induced native fluorescence (LINF) is the most sensitive method of detection of biological material including microorganisms, virus', and cellular residues. LINF is also a sensitive method of detection for many non-biological materials as well. The specificity with which these materials can be classified depends on the excitation wavelength and the number and location of observation wavelengths. Higher levels of specificity can be obtained using Raman spectroscopy but a much lower levels of sensitivity. Raman spectroscopy has traditionally been employed in the IR to avoid fluorescence. Fluorescence rarely occurs at wavelength below about 270nm. Therefore, when excitation occurs at a wavelength below 250nm, no fluorescence background occurs within the Raman fingerprint region for biological materials. When excitation occurs within electronic resonance bands of the biological target materials, Raman signal enhancement over one million typically occurs. Raman sensitivity within several hundred times fluorescence are possible in the deep UV where most biological materials have strong absorption. Since the Raman and fluorescence emissions occur at different wavelength, both spectra can be observed simultaneously, thereby providing a sensor with unique sensitivity and specificity capability.
We will present data on our integrated, deep ultraviolet, LINF/Raman instruments that are being developed for several applications including life detection on Mars as well as biochemical warfare agents on Earth. We will demonstrate the ability to discriminate organic materials based on LINF alone. Together with UV resonance Raman, higher levels of specificity will be demonstrated. In addition, these instruments are being developed as on-line chemical sensors for industrial and municipal waste streams and product quality applications.