Optimal absorbance levels for quantitative analysis in the presence of photometric error have been described in the past. In newer instrumentation, such as FT-IR and NIRA spectrometers, the photometric error is no longer limiting. In these instruments, pathlength error due to cell or sampling irreproducibility is often a major concern. One can derive optimal absorbance by taking both pathlength and photometric errors into account. This paper analyzes the cases of pathlength error ≫ photometric error (trivial) and various cases in which the pathlength errors and the photometric error are of the same order: adjustable concentration (trivial until dilution errors are considered), constant relative pathlength error(trivial), and constant absolute pathlength error. The latter, in particular, is analyzed in detail to give the behavior of the error, the behavior of the optimal absorbance in its presence, and the total error levels attainable.

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