Raman spectroscopy using 400 nm excitation was successfully applied to chemical pulp samples and the fluorescence background that usually limits the application of this method to such samples was effectively suppressed. This enabled the detection of much weaker Raman bands from the pulps. The rejection ratio of the fluorescence background to Raman scattering was estimated to be about 250. The resonance Raman spectra of peroxide bleached chemical pulps had chromophoric lignin bands at 1605 and 1655 cm−1, whereas the chlorine dioxide bleached pulps had only the aromatic band at 1605 cm−1. The square root of the aromatic chromophore band relative to cellulose band correlated linearly with the brightness which is in accordance with the Kubelka-Munk theory. This correlation indicated that the resonance enhanced Raman bands were mainly due to chromophoric lignin structures. Chlorine dioxide and peroxide bleached pulps gave different correlations to brightness, which was an indication of different kinds of chromophores in these pulps. The intensity of the aromatic band relative to the cellulose band was about 20 times higher with the ultraviolet (257 nm) than with the visible (400 nm) excitation. This clearly illustrated the importance of working with different excitation wavelengths. On one hand the UV excitation is more sensitive towards aromatic residual lignin in pulp, and on the other hand the visible excitation enables the selective detection of chromophoric lignin structures.
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