The Spectroscopy Net
Gateway to Spectroscopy > Data Acquisition > Analysis


The accuracy of an analysis is a measure of how closely the estimated concentration (or content) is to the real concentration. In practice accuracy is determined by comparing estimated values with certified or agreed values.

An important parameter in determining accuracy in analysis is the confidence limit (CL):

[Confidence Limit]

where t is the Student t term, normally estimated for 95% confidence (i.e. a = 0.95), se is the standard error of estimate, n is the number of samples in the calibration, m is the number of replicates (measurements) of the analyte sample, Cj is the analyte content,  C-i is the mean content of the calibration, and Ci is the known content of each calibration sample.

If we use a large number of calibration samples (say more then  15) and we analyse near the mean of the calibration curve, then CL simplifies to:

[Approximate Confidence Limit]

Thus if we make 4 measurements on the analyte sample, the 95% confidence limit is comparable to the standard error of estimate of the calibration curve.

For more details see: R Payling, in R Payling, D G Jones and A Bengtson (Eds), Glow Discharge Optical Emission Spectrometry, John Wiley & Sons, Chichester (1997), pp 428-439.

First published on the web: 15 December 1999.

Author: Richard Payling