The potential of principal component regression (PCR) for mixture resolution by UV-visible spectrophotometry was assessed. For this purpose, a set of binary mixtures with Gaussian bands was simulated, and the influence of spectral overlap on the precision of quantification was studied. Likewise, the results obtained in the resolution of a mixture of components with extensively overlapped spectra were investigated in terms of spectral noise and the criterion used to select the optimal number of principal components. The model was validated by cross-validation, and the number of significant principal components was determined on the basis of four different criteria. Three types of noise were considered: intrinsic instrumental noise, which was modeled from experimental data provided by an HP 8452A diode array spectrophotometer; constant baseline shifts; and baseline drift. Introducing artificial baseline alterations in some samples of the calibration matrix was found to increase the reliability of the proposed method in routine analysis. The method was applied to the analysis of mixtures of Ti, Al, and Fe by resolving the spectra of their 8-hydroxyquinoline complexes previously extracted into chloroform.
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