Open-path FT-IR spectra of low-concentration releases of diethyl ether were measured both when a glycol fog was passed into the infrared beam and when large water droplets from a lawn sprinkler were sprayed into the beam. It was shown that the glycol fog, for which the droplet size was much less than the wavelength of the infrared radiation, gave rise to a significant interference such that partial least squares (PLS) regression would only yield reasonable values for the ether concentration if background spectra in which the glycol fog was present were included in the calibration set. On the other hand, target factor analysis (TFA) allowed the presence of the ether to be recognized without precalibration. When large water droplets were present in the beam, any infrared radiation entering the droplet was completely absorbed, so that both PLS and TFA would yield accurate results.
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