In today's world of increasingly complex and refined biological analytical techniques, spectroscopy has maintained its place at the forefront. One type of spectroscopy in particular, Raman spectroscopy, has proven especially useful in providing detailed analysis of a staggering variety of biological samples. Raman spectroscopy is able to detect and analyze extremely small molecular objects with high resolution while eliminating outside interference .
Recently, a derivative of Raman spectroscopy, termed Raman tweezers, has allowed for an even greater degree of analytical capability. Raman tweezers use optical tweezers to suspend and manipulate a molecule without direct contact, so that the molecule's Raman spectra may be recorded while it is in its most natural state. As such, the spectra collected are more reflective of the true nature of the molecule under study and therefore of more significance. Even with today's advances, we are only beginning to scratch the surface of a technique that holds the promise of far-reaching and highly significant future applications.
One such field that stands to benefit greatly from Raman tweezers is virology. The high resolution, lack of sample preparation, and very short data collection time required make the technology ideal for use in the study of viruses and virally infected cells. However, because of the newness of the approach, this review has been written in such a manner that those unfamiliar with optical physics not become lost and lose interest in a technology that holds such incredible potential.