The calculation of an absorbance spectrum depends on the measurement of a blank, or background spectrum. In many cases, such as the determination of atmospheric constituents with the use of open-path Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FT-IR) or the determination of water vapor in a gaseous sample, it is very difficult to obtain a good background spectrum. The difficulty is due to the fact that it is nearly impossible in these situations to measure a spectrum with no analyte features present. We present a method of generating a background spectrum based on filtering the analyte features from the sample spectrum. When the filtering method is used, the accuracy of the results obtained is found to be dependent upon the analyte peak width, peak height, and type of filter employed. Guidelines for the use of this background generation technique for quantitative determinations are presented.

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