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Time-gated Raman spectroscopy of recovered plastics



Anthony Kotula, Sara Orski, Kayla Brignac, Jennifer Lynch, Bryan Heilala


Raman spectroscopy is a powerful non-destructive technique for the identification and characterization of plastics. The technique often has limited use due to fluorescence emission, which often occurs in polymer samples containing colorants or that have been subjected to weathering and degradation. Here, we demonstrate that time-gated Raman spectroscopy can be used to successfully characterize recovered plastics that exhibit strong background fluorescence due to the presence of additives and dyes. Time-gating removes a significant amount of background signal from the Raman spectra such that the polymers and color additives can be identified using similar measurement times compared to continuous-wave Raman spectroscopy. Examples of this are shown for blue samples containing an organic dye and a white sample containing titanium dioxide. This technique can also be used to characterize samples that are black in color due to carbon-based additives like graphite, which can be challenging to characterize via other common vibrational spectroscopic techniques.
Marine Pollution Bulletin


Raman spectroscopy, polymers


Kotula, A. , Orski, S. , Brignac, K. , Lynch, J. and Heilala, B. (2022), Time-gated Raman spectroscopy of recovered plastics, Marine Pollution Bulletin, [online],, (Accessed May 28, 2024)


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Created July 1, 2022, Updated December 1, 2022