Parallel high-resolution confocal Raman SEM analysis of inorganic and organic bone matrix constituents

Aart A. van Apeldoorn, Y. Aksenov, M. Stigter, I. Hofland, Joost Dick de Bruijn, H.K. Koerten, Cornelis Otto, Jan Greve, Clemens van Blitterswijk

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32 Citations (Scopus)


In many multi-disciplinary fields of science, such as tissue engineering, where material and biological sciences are combined, there is a need for a tool that combines ultrastructural and chemical data analysis in a non-destructive manner at high resolution. We show that a combination of confocal Raman spectroscopy (CRS) and scanning electron microscopy (SEM) can be used for such analysis. Studies of atomic composition can be done by X-ray microanalysis in SEM, but this is only possible for atomic numbers greater than five and does not reveal molecular identity. Raman spectroscopy, however, can provide information on molecular composition and identity by detection of wavelength shifts caused by molecular vibrations. In this study, CRS–SEM revealed that early in vitro-formed bone extracellular matrix (ECM) produced by rat osteoprogenitor cells resembles mature bone chemically. We gained insight into the structure and chemical composition of the ECM, which was composed of mainly mineralized collagen type I fibres and areas of dense carbonated calcium phosphate related to the collagen fibre density, as revealed by Raman imaging of SEM samples. We found that CRS–SEM allows the study of specimens in a non-destructive manner and provides high-resolution structural and chemical information about inorganic and organic constituents by parallel measurements on the same sample.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-7
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of the Royal Society. Interface
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2005


  • Extra-cellular matrix
  • METIS-223816
  • confocal Raman spectroscopy
  • Scanning Electron Microscopy
  • osteoblasts
  • Raman imaging
  • IR-72805


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