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As emerging contaminants, microplastics are challenging to characterize, particularly when their size is at the nanoscale. While imaging technology has received increasing attention recently, such as Raman imaging, decoding the scanning spectrum matrix can be difficult to achieve result digitally and automatically via software and usually requires the involvement of personal experience and expertise. Herewith, we show a dual-principal component analysis (PCA) approach, where (i) the first round of PCA analysis focuses on the raw spectrum data from the Raman scanning matrix and generates two new matrices, with one containing the spectrum profile to yield the PCA spectrum and the other containing the PCA intensity to be mapped as an image; (ii) the second round of PCA analysis merges the spectrum from the first round of PCA with the standard spectra of eight common plastics, to generate a correlation matrix. From the correlation value, we can digitally assign the principal components from the first round of PCA analysis to the plastics toward imaging, akin to dataset indexing. We also demonstrate the effect of the data pretreatment and the wavenumber variations. Overall, this dual-PCA approach paves the way for machine learning to analyze microplastics and particularly nanoplastics.


Yunlong Luo, Xian Zhang, Zixing Zhang, Ravi Naidu, Cheng Fang. Dual-Principal Component Analysis of the Raman Spectrum Matrix to Automatically Identify and Visualize Microplastics and Nanoplastics. Analytical chemistry. 2022 Feb 22;94(7):3150-3157

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PMID: 35109647

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