Rapid technological advances have made the acquisition of large numbers of spectra not only feasible, but also routine. As a result, a significant research effort is focused on semi-automated and fully automated spectral processing techniques. However, the need to provide initial estimates of the number of peaks, their band shapes, and the initial parameters of these bands presents an obstacle to the full automation of peak fitting and its incorporation into fully automated spectral-preprocessing workflows. Moreover, the sensitivity of peak-fit routines to initial parameter settings and the resultant variations in solution quality further impede user-free operation. We have developed a technique to perform fully automated peak fitting on fully automated preconditioned spectra—specifically, baseline-corrected and smoothed spectra that are free of cosmic-ray-induced spikes. Briefly, the tallest peak in a spectrum is located and a Gaussian peak-fit is performed. The fitted peak is then subtracted from the spectrum, and the procedure is repeated until the entire spectrum has been processed. In second and third passes, all the peaks in the spectrum are fitted concurrently, but are fitted to a Pearson Type VII model using the parameters for the model established in the prior pass. The technique is applied to a synthetic spectrum with several peaks, some of which have substantial overlap, to test the ability of the method to recover the correct number of peaks, their true shape, and their appropriate parameters. Finally the method is tested on measured Raman spectra collected from human embryonic stem cells and samples of red blood cells.
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