Abstract

Spectrophotometric data are inherently heteroscedastic, which means that least-squares component analyses of absorbance spectra should properly employ weighted fits. The effects of neglecting weights (the common practice) is examined through Monte Carlo calculations on a three-peak model having two closely overlapping components of comparable strength and a third component that appears as a weak shoulder. The results show statistically significant loss of precision in all parameters; however the magnitude of this loss is ≲30% for realistic conditions. For comparison, experimental spectra of I<sub>2</sub> in CCl<sub>4</sub> (which was the basis for the Monte Carlo test model) are similarly analyzed. These results suggest that model inadequacy is likely to be a greater practical problem than neglect of weights, because the great precision of spectrophotometric data places extreme demands on the fit model. In the present instance, for example, incorporation of a correction term for the sinusoidal error in the spectrometer wavelength significantly reduces the fit chi-square.

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