An internal standard in analytical chemistry is a chemical substance that is added in a constant amount to samples, the blank and calibration standards in a chemical analysis. This substance can then be used for calibration by plotting the ratio of the analyte signal to the internal standard signal as a function of the analyte concentration of the standards. This is done to correct for the loss of analyte during sample preparation or sample inlet. The internal standard is a compound that matches as closely, but not completely, the chemical species of interest in the samples, as the effects of sample preparation should, relative to the amount of each species, be the same for the signal from the internal standard as for the signal(s) from the species of interest in the ideal case. Adding known quantities of analyte(s) of interest is a distinct technique called standard addition, which is performed to correct for matrix effects.
This ratio for the samples is then used to obtain their analyte concentrations from a calibration curve. The internal standard used needs to provide a signal that is similar to the analyte signal in most ways but sufficiently different so that the two signals are readily distinguishable by the instrument. For example deuterated chlorobenzene (C6D5Cl) is an internal standard used in the analysis of volatiles on GC-MS because it is similar to Chlorobenzene but does not occur naturally.