Stimulated Raman scattering (SRS) describes a family of techniques first discovered and developed in the 1960s. Whereas the nascent history of the technique is parallel to that of laser light sources, recent advances have spurred a resurgence in its use and development that has spanned across scientific fields and spatial scales. SRS is a nonlinear technique that probes the same vibrational modes of molecules that are seen in spontaneous Raman scattering. While spontaneous Raman scattering is an incoherent technique, SRS is a coherent process, and this fact provides several advantages over conventional Raman techniques, among which are much stronger signals and the ability to time-resolve the vibrational motions. Technological improvements in pulse generation and detection strategies have allowed SRS to probe increasingly smaller volumes and shorter time scales. This has enabled SRS research to move from its original domain, of probing bulk media, to imaging biological tissues and single cells at the micro scale, and, ultimately, to characterizing samples with subdiffraction resolution at the nanoscale. In this Review, we give an overview of the history of the technique, outline its basic properties, and present historical and current uses at multiple length scales to underline the utility of SRS to the molecular sciences.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
We thank Jue Hou for help with Figure 12. R.C.P. is grateful for support from NIH P41-RR01192 (Laser Microbeam and Medical Program, LAMMP) and from the National Science Foundation BEST IGERT Program, grant DGE-1144901. R.R.F. acknowledges support from the National Science Foundation, grant CHE-1552849. E.O.P. acknowledges support from the National Science Foundation, grant CHE-1414466.
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