Spectrophotometry and Spectrofluorometry with the Self-scanned Photodiode Array
A state-of-the-art self-scanned photodiode array, utilized as a spectrometric multichannel detector, was studied for its applicability to molecular absorption and molecular fluorescence spectrometry. Molecular absorption spectrophotometry requires detectors with high UV to near IR response,
high dynamic range, linear response, low noise, and temporal as well as thermal stability. Molecular fluorescence spectrometry requires, in addition, sensitivity to low-light level signals. These requirements were satisfied by the systems under study. Other parameters that govern the overall
performance of diode array-based spectrophotometers and spectrofluorometers include: photometric range, stray energy radiation and its effect on photometric accuracy, photometric precision, spectral resolution sensitivity, and signal-to-noise considerations. Various readout methods for the
array detectors were examined including: real time, in-memory signal integration, on-target signal integration, variable integration time (VIT), diode grouping, and diode fast access (a pseudorandom access readout). Performance demonstrations of these multichannel spectrometers were made with
a few typical chemical systems. The spectrophotometric performance of the diode array system was excellent, practically equal to that of conventional single-channel systems. Exceptions were higher amenability to the adverse effects of stray radiation energy and a dependency of the geometric
(wavelength) accuracy on spatial fluctuations (wander) in the light source. Potential long-term UV degradation of diode arrays may present an inherent problem, but was not discussed here because data accumulated up-to-date was considered inconsequential. As a spectrofluorometer multichannel
detector, the diode array showed an "unexpected" signal-to-noise (detectability) performance, closely matching that of conventional high gain detectors. However, this performance was achieved only if sufficiently long signal integration times (20 to 160 s) were feasible. Overall performance
of the diode array has demonstrated that theoretical multiplex advantages are achievable, resulting in either a considerable improvement in signal-to-noise or a corresponding shortening in observation time.
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