A new method has been developed to automatically identify Raman spectra, whether they correspond to single- or multicomponent spectra. The method requires no user input or judgment. There are thus no parameters to be tweaked. Furthermore, it provides a reliability factor on the resulting identification, with the aim of becoming a useful support tool for the analyst in the decision-making process. The method relies on the multivariate techniques of principal component analysis (PCA) and independent component analysis (ICA), and on some metrics. It has been developed for the application of automated spectral analysis, where the analyzed spectrum is provided by a spectrometer that has no previous knowledge of the analyzed sample, meaning that the number of components in the sample is unknown. We describe the details of this method and demonstrate its efficiency by identifying both simulated spectra and real spectra. The method has been applied to artistic pigment identification. The reliable and consistent results that were obtained make the methodology a helpful tool suitable for the identification of pigments in artwork or in paint in general.
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