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Chirality. 2012 Sep;24(9):706-17. doi: 10.1002/chir.22006. Epub 2012 May 25.

Dichrometer errors resulting from large signals or improper modulator phasing.

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Physics Department, East Carolina University, Greenville, NC 27858-4353, USA.


A single-beam spectrometer equipped with a photoelastic modulator can be configured to measure a number of different parameters useful in characterizing chemical and biochemical materials including natural and magnetic circular dichroism, linear dichroism, natural and magnetic fluorescence-detected circular dichroism, and fluorescence polarization anisotropy as well as total absorption and fluorescence. The derivations of the mathematical expressions used to extract these parameters from ultraviolet, visible, and near-infrared light-induced electronic signals in a dichrometer assume that the dichroic signals are sufficiently small that certain mathematical approximations will not introduce significant errors. This article quantifies errors resulting from these assumptions as a function of the magnitude of the dichroic signals. In the case of linear dichroism, improper modulator programming can result in errors greater than those resulting from the assumption of small signal size, whereas for fluorescence polarization anisotropy, improper modulator phase alone gives incorrect results. Modulator phase can also impact the values of total absorbance recorded simultaneously with linear dichroism and total fluorescence.

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