Method detection l
Method detection limit
Many times there is more to the analytical method than just doing a reaction or submitting it to direct analysis. For example it might be necessary to heat a sample that is to be analyzed for a particular metal with the addition of acid first (this is called digestion). The sample may also be diluted or concentrated prior to analysis on an instrument. Additional steps in an analysis add additional opportunities for error. Since detection limits are defined in terms of error, this will naturally increase the measured detection limit. This detection limit (with all steps of the analysis included) is called the MDL. The practical method for determining the MDL is to analyze 7 samples of concentration near the expected limit of detection. The standard deviation is then determined. The one-sided t-distribution is determined and multiplied versus the determined standard deviation. For seven samples (with six degrees of freedom) the t value for a 99% confidence interval is 3.14. Rather than performing the complete analysis of seven identical samples, if the Instrument Detection Limit is known, the MDL may be estimated by multiplying the Instrument Detection Limit or Lower Level of Detection by the dilution prior to analyzing the sample solution on the instrument. This estimation, however, ignores any uncertainty that arises from performing the sample preparation and will therefore probably underestimate the true MDL.