A ball lens mounted hollow optical fiber Raman probe (BHRP) consisting of a single hollow optical fiber (HOF) and a micro-ball lens was developed for performing a high axial resolution and high-sensitivity remote Raman analysis of biomedical tissues. The total diameter of the probe head is 640 μm. The BHRP is useful in the measurement of thin-layered tissues that are in contact with the probe's surface because the probe has a limited depth-of-field optical property. An optical calculation study suggested that it is possible to vary the probe's working distance by selecting different materials and diameters for the ball lens. Empirical studies revealed that this probe has a higher axial resolution and a higher sensitivity than an HOF Raman probe without the ball lens. The spectrum of a mouse stomach measured with the BHRP had better quality and considerably lower noise than that measured with a conventional Raman microscope. These results strongly suggest that the BHRP can be used effectively in biomedical applications.
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