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A convenient variation of Raman-induced Kerr effect spectroscopy (RIKES) which overcomes many of the previous limitations of coherent Raman spectroscopy is introduced. Quantum limited signal-to-noise ratios may be approached by the use of optical heterodyne detection (OHD). Detector current, linearly proportional and phase sensitive to the third-order nonlinear susceptibility, and linearly proportional to the Raman scattering cross section, is produced. Heterodyne detection in coherent Raman spectroscopy enables the detection of weak Raman signals that would otherwise be obscured by noise resulting from background sources.