The purpose of the present study was to visualize the sorption dynamics of small compounds, such as propylene glycol (PG) in cellulose acetate (CA) film, by deuterium (d) labeling-aided confocal Raman spectroscopy (CRM). Substitution of hydrogen atoms in the target molecule with deuterium caused a marked shift of C-H bond-related Raman bands to low wavenumbers, while the number of deuterium did not affect the magnitude of the shift. Raman bands derived from the stretching vibration of C–H near 2900 cm−1 for PG and ethanol were shifted to approximately 2100 cm−1 for PG-d6 and ethanol-d5 in the silent region of the CA Raman spectrum. When PG-d6 was dissolved in glycerol triacetate (GTA), the observed Raman intensity ratio at 2123 cm−1 of PG-d6 against 1739 cm−1 of GTA (C=O bond-related) showed a linear relationship between the molar and intensity ratios, indicating that the observed Raman intensity can be used for quantitative assay of the target in polymer film. The depth profiling experiments by CRM revealed that the distribution (or sorption) of PG-d6 in CA film was successfully visualized as a function of Raman band at the characteristic 2123 cm−1 intensity ratio.
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