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Raman spectroscopy is an analytical method based on light-matter interactions that can interrogate the vibrational modes of matter and provide representative molecular fingerprints. Mediated by its label-free, non-invasive nature and high molecular specificity, Raman-based techniques have become ubiquitous tools for in situ characterisation of materials. This review comprehensively describes the theoretical and practical background of Raman spectroscopy and its advanced variants. We highlight the numerous facets of material characterisation that Raman scattering can reveal, including biomolecular identification, solid-to-solid phase transitions and spatial mapping of biomolecular species in bioactive materials. The review illustrates the potential of these techniques in the context of active biomedical material design and development by highlighting representative studies from the literature. These studies cover the use of Raman spectroscopy for the characterisation of both natural and synthetic biomaterials, including engineered tissue constructs, biopolymer systems, ceramics and nanoparticle formulations, among others. To increase the accessibility and adoption of these techniques, the present review also provides the reader with practical recommendations on the integration of Raman techniques into the experimental laboratory toolbox. Finally, we provide perspectives on how recent developments in plasmon- and coherently-enhanced Raman spectroscopy can propel Raman from underutilised to critical for biomaterial development. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

Original publication




Journal article


Adv Mater

Publication Date



Raman, active biomaterials, biomedical materials