Detection limit

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DRAFT DEFINITION
Detection limit

The detection limit of an instrument should be differentiated from sensitivity. The detection limit reflects the smallest flow of sample or the lowest partial pressure that gives a signal that can be distinguished from the background noise. One must specify the experimental conditions used and give the value of signal-to-noise ratio corresponding to the detection limit.

Considered between 2004 and 2006 but not included in the 2006 PAC submission
This is an unofficial draft definition presented for information and comment.

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Orange Book

ORANGE BOOK DEFINITION

IUPAC. Analytical Division. Compendium of Analytical Nomenclature (the Orange Book). Definitive Rules, 1979.

Detection limit

The detection limit reflects the smallest amount of sample or the lowest partial pressure that gives a signal that can be distinguished from the background noise. It is recommended that a signal-to-noise ratio of 2:1 be used to define the detection limit.

See also Orange Book Chapter 18.4.3.7 and 2.4.

IUPAC 1997 Orange Book Chapter 12
Index of Orange Book Terms