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Signal-to-Noise Contribution of Principal Component Loads in Reconstructed Near-Infrared Raman Tissue Spectra

Volume 64, Number 1 (Jan. 2010) Page 8-14

Grimbergen, M.C.M.; van Swol, C.F.P.; Kendall, C.; Verdaasdonk, R.M.; Stone, N.; Bosch, J.L.H.R.


The overall quality of Raman spectra in the near-infrared region, where biological samples are often studied, has benefited from various improvements to optical instrumentation over the past decade. However, obtaining ample spectral quality for analysis is still challenging due to device requirements and short integration times required for (in vivo) clinical applications of Raman spectroscopy. Multivariate analytical methods, such as principal component analysis (PCA) and linear discriminant analysis (LDA), are routinely applied to Raman spectral datasets to develop classification models. Data compression is necessary prior to discriminant analysis to prevent or decrease the degree of over-fitting. The logical threshold for the selection of principal components (PCs) to be used in discriminant analysis is likely to be at a point before the PCs begin to introduce equivalent signal and noise and, hence, include no additional value. Assessment of the signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) at a certain peak or over a specific spectral region will depend on the sample measured. Therefore, the mean SNR over the whole spectral region (SNRmsr) is determined in the original spectrum as well as for spectra reconstructed from an increasing number of principal components. This paper introduces a method of assessing the influence of signal and noise from individual PC loads and indicates a method of selection of PCs for LDA. To evaluate this method, two data sets with different SNRs were used. The sets were obtained with the same Raman system and the same measurement parameters on bladder tissue collected during white light cystoscopy (set A) and fluorescence-guided cystoscopy (set B). This method shows that the mean SNR over the spectral range in the original Raman spectra of these two data sets is related to the signal and noise contribution of principal component loads. The difference in mean SNR over the spectral range can also be appreciated since fewer principal components can reliably be used in the low SNR data set (set B) compared to the high SNR data set (set A). Despite the fact that no definitive threshold could be found, this method may help to determine the cutoff for the number of principal components used in discriminant analysis. Future analysis of a selection of spectral databases using this technique will allow optimum thresholds to be selected for different applications and spectral data quality levels.