What is a Spectrum?

A Raman spectrum consists of a series of peaks at different frequencies (Raman shift).

Raman spectrum of eucryptite sample 

The position of these peaks is determined by the energy involved in the vibration of specific bonds in a sample.

 

As the bonds in a mineral are characteristic of that mineral, so too are the peak positions for that mineral. The height of those peaks (Raman intensity) relates to how much energy at each frequency is measured by the Raman. This means that a Raman spectrum is a ‘fingerprint’ of that mineral and can be used to identify it.