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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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Article information

15 Jul 2011
20 Sep 2012
First published
13 Nov 2012

J. Anal. At. Spectrom., 2013,28, 52-58
Article type

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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