Spectrometric mixture analysis: An unexpected wrinkle
Spectrometric mixture analysis; caffeine; theobromine; ultraviolet absorption.
The spectrometric analysis of a mixture of two chemically and spectroscopically similar compounds is illustrated for the simultaneous spectrometric determination of caffeine and theobromine, the primary stimulants in coffee and tea, based on their ultraviolet absorbances. Their analysis indicates that such measurements may need an unexpectedly high precision to yield accurate answers, because of an artifact of inverse cancellation, in which a small noise or drift signal is misinterpreted in terms of a concentration difference. The computed sum of the concentrations is not affected.