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When electromagnetic radiation passes through matter, most of the radiation continues in its original direction but a small fraction is scattered in other directions. Light that is scattered at the same wavelength as the incoming light is called Rayleigh scattering. Light that is scattered in transparent solids due to vibrations (phonons) is called Brillouin scattering. Brillouin scattering is typically shifted by 0.1 to 1 cm-1 from the incident light. Light that is scattered due to vibrations in molecules or optical phonons in solids is called Raman scattering. Raman scattered light is shifted by as much as 4000 cm-1 from the incident light.

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