Analytical Chemistry

Correction for Extrinsic Background in Raman Hyperspectral Images

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Raman hyperspectral microscopy is a valuable tool in biological and biomedical imaging. Because Raman scattering is often weak in comparison to other phenomena, prevalent spectral fluctuations and contaminations have brought advancements in analytical and chemometric methods for Raman spectra. These chemometric advances have been key contributors to the applicability of Raman imaging to biological systems. As studies increase in scale, spectral contamination from extrinsic background, intensity from sources such as the optical components that are extrinsic to the sample of interest, has become an emerging issue. Although existing baseline correction schemes often reduce intrinsic background such as autofluorescence originating from the sample of interest, extrinsic background is not explicitly considered, and these methods often fail to reduce its effects. Here, we show that extrinsic background can significantly affect a classification model using Raman images, yielding misleadingly high accuracies in the distinction of benign and malignant samples of follicular thyroid cell lines. To mitigate its effects, we develop extrinsic background correction (EBC) and demonstrate its use in combination with existing methods on Raman hyperspectral images. EBC isolates regions containing the smallest amounts of sample materials that retain extrinsic contributions that are specific to the device or environment. We perform classification both with and without the use of EBC, and we find that EBC retains biological characteristics in the spectra while significantly reducing extrinsic background. As the methodology used in EBC is not specific to Raman spectra, correction of extrinsic effects in other types of hyperspectral and grayscale images is also possible.