A method for noninvasively determining blood oxygenation in individual vessels inside bulk tissue would provide a powerful tool for biomedical research. We explore the potential of coherent anti-Stokes Raman scattering (CARS) spectroscopy to provide this capability. Using the multiplex CARS approach, we measure the vibrational spectrum in hemoglobin solutions as a function of the oxygenation state and observe a clear dependence of the spectral shape on oxygenation. The direct extraction of the Raman line shape from the CARS data using a maximum entropy method phase retrieval algorithm enables quantitative analysis. The CARS spectra associated with intermediate oxygenation saturation levels can be accurately described by a weighted sum of the fully oxygenated and fully deoxygenated spectra. We find that the degree of oxygenation determined from the CARS data agrees well with that determined by optical absorption. As a nonlinear optical technique, CARS inherently provides the 3-D imaging capability and tolerance to scattering necessary for biomedical applications. We discuss the challenges in extending the proof of principle demonstrated to in vivo applications.

J. Biomed. Opt.

Rinia, H. A., Bonn, M., Vartiainen, E. M., Schaffer, C. B., & Müller, M. (2006). Spectroscopic analysis of the oxygenation state of hemoglobin using coherent anti-Stokes Raman scattering. J. Biomed. Opt., 11(Article number: 50502), 1–3. doi:10.1117/1.2355671