This paper describes the application of Raman spectroscopy to whole hair fibers. Previously this has proved difficult because the hairs are relatively opaque, and spatial resolution diminishes with depth because of the change in refractive index. A solution is to couple confocal Raman with multivariate curve resolution (MCR) data analysis, which separates spectral differences with depth despite this reduction in resolution. Initially, it is shown that the cuticle can be separated from the cortex, showing the differences in the proteins, which can then be plotted as a function of depth, with the cuticle factor being seen only at the surface as expected. Hairs that had been treated in different ways, e.g., by bleaching, treatment with the active molecule resorcinol followed by rinsing and treatment with a full hair care product, were also examined. In all cases, changes to the hair are identified and are associated with specific parts of the fiber. Since the hair fiber is kept intact, it can be repeatedly treated and measured, hence multistep treatment processes can be followed. This method expands the potential use of Raman spectroscopy in hair research.
Vol. 9, Iss. 2 Virtual Journal for Biomedical Optics
Paul D. A. Pudney, Eleanor Y. M. Bonnist, Kevin J. Mutch, Rachel Nicholls, Hugh Rieley, and Samuel Stanfield, "Confocal Raman Spectroscopy of Whole Hairs," Appl. Spectrosc. 67, 1408-1416 (2013)