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Issue 1, 2013
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Statistical bias in isotope ratios

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This paper presents the mathematics of the systematic bias in the expected value of the ratio of two noise-corrected Poisson-distributed variables, such as ion counting measurements. Such bias can lead to the reporting of incorrect ratios and, in some cases, systematic correlations with other measurements which can impact the scientific interpretation. We describe a novel method of treating such measurements which results in a negligible, exponentially small bias. We also re-examine the conventional approach deriving an exact expression for the bias including the noise correction explicitly.

Graphical abstract: Statistical bias in isotope ratios

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The article was received on 15 Jul 2011, accepted on 20 Sep 2012 and first published on 13 Nov 2012

Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C2JA10205F
J. Anal. At. Spectrom., 2013,28, 52-58

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    Statistical bias in isotope ratios

    C. D. Coath, R. C. J. Steele and W. F. Lunnon, J. Anal. At. Spectrom., 2013, 28, 52
    DOI: 10.1039/C2JA10205F

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