Non-destructive quantification of pharmaceutical tablet coatings using terahertz pulsed imaging and optical coherence tomography

Zhong, Shuncong and Shen, Yao-Chun and Ho, Louise and May, Robert K. and Zeitler, J. Axel and Evans, Mike and Taday, Philip F. and Pepper, Michael and Rades, Thomas and Gordon, Keith C. and Müller, Ronny and Kleinebudde, Peter (2011) Non-destructive quantification of pharmaceutical tablet coatings using terahertz pulsed imaging and optical coherence tomography. Optics and Lasers in Engineering, 49 (3). pp. 361-365. ISSN 0143-8166

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    Abstract

    Optical coherence tomography (OCT) and terahertz pulsed imaging (TPI) are two powerful techniques allowing high quality cross-sectional images from within scattering media to be obtained non-destructively. In this paper, we report experimental results of using OCT and TPI for quantitatively characterizing pharmaceutical tablet coatings in the thickness range of 10–140 μm. We found that the spectral OCT system developed in-house has an axial resolution of 0.9 μm, and is capable of quantifying very thin coatings in the range of 10–60 μm. The upper limit of 60 μm within the tablet coating and core is owed to the strong scattering of OCT light, which has relatively short wavelengths in the range of 0.5–1.0 μm. On the other hand, TPI utilizes terahertz radiation that has substantially long wavelengths in the range of hundreds of microns, and thus is less prone to the scattering problem. Consequently TPI has been demonstrated to be able to quantify thicker coatings in the range of 40–140 μm and beyond. We concluded that OCT and TPI are two complementary analytical techniques for non-destructive and quantitative characterization of pharmaceutical tablet coatings.