Vibrational spectroscopies, including infrared (IR) and Raman, have great potential in clinical diagnostics as they can be applied to virtually any sample type, including solids, biofluids and volatiles, and they provide detailed quantitative biochemical sample composition information. However, unlike other spectroscopic techniques, such as UV/visible, IR and Raman have not yet made the leap to widespread routine clinical adoption. This article will review the principles of IR and Raman spectroscopies, focussing on aspects of these technologies that lend themselves well to clinical application. Some of the limitations of these technologies, plus important considerations for clinical use, will also be discussed. Key examples of clinical applications of the various technologies will be presented, with comment on the success of translating these from the lab to the clinic.
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