In addition to mechanical functions, bones have an essential role in metabolic activity as mineral reservoirs that are able to absorb and release ions. Bioapatite, considered the major component in the mineralized part of mammalian bones, is a calcium phosphate mineral with a structure that closely resembles hydroxyapatite (HA, Ca10[PO4]6[OH]2) with variable chemical substitutions. It is important to note that it continues to be chemically active long after it has been initially deposited. Detailed understanding of changes in the mineral phase as HA matures is essential for understanding how normal bone achieves its remarkable mechanical performance, how it is altered in disease, as well as the effects of therapeutic interventions. A model system for investigation of the in vivo maturation of HA is available, namely, the in vitro conversion of amorphous calcium phosphate (ACP) to HA in a supersaturated solution of calcium and phosphate ions. In the present study, this system was employed to correlate with the changes in chemistry and poorly crystalline HAP crystal size, shape, and habit. The results of the X-ray diffraction as well as Raman analyses showed that as the crystallites mature in the 002 and 310 directions both the full width at half-height and wavelength at maximum of the Raman peaks change as a function of reaction extent and crystallite maturation, size, and shape. Moreover, such analyses can be performed in intact bone specimens through Raman microspectroscopic and imaging analyses with a spatial resolution of 0.6-1 mu, by far superior to the one offered by other microspectroscopic techniques, thus potentially yielding important new information on the organization and mineral quality of normal and fragile bone.