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Development of a Drift-correction Procedure for a Photoelectric Spectrometer

Volume 32, Number 1 (Feb. 1978) Page 46-53

Chapman, Gilbert B.; Gordon, William A.


This procedure provides automatic correction for drifts in the radiometric sensitivity of each detector channel in a direct-reading emission spectrometer. Such drifts are customarily controlled by the regular analyses of standards, which provide corrections for changes in the excitational, optical, and electronic components of the instrument. This standardization procedure, however, corrects for the optical and electronic drifts, thus minimizing the time, effort, and cost of regularly processing standards. This method of radiometric drift correction uses a 1000-W tungsten-halogen reference lamp to illuminate each detector through the same optical path as that traversed during sample analysis. The responses of the detector channels to this reference light are regularly compared with channel responses to the same light intensity at the time of analytical calibration in order to determine and correct for drift. The coefficients of variation of these drift corrections average less than 1%. Except for placing the lamp in position, the procedure is fully automated and compensates for changes in spectral intensity due to variations in lamp current. A discussion of the implementation of this drift-correction system is included.