Evaluation of laser direct infrared imaging for rapid analysis of pharmaceutical tablets

Carruthers, Hannah and Clark, Don and Clarke, Fiona C. and Faulds, Karen and Graham, Duncan (2022) Evaluation of laser direct infrared imaging for rapid analysis of pharmaceutical tablets. Analytical Methods, 14 (19). pp. 1862-1871. ISSN 1759-9660 (https://doi.org/10.1039/D2AY00471B)

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Vibrational spectroscopic chemical imaging is an important tool in the pharmaceutical industry for characterising the spatial distribution of components within final drug products. The applicability of these techniques is currently limited by the long data acquisition times required to obtain high-definition chemical images of a sample surface. Advancements in quantum cascade laser (QCL) technology have provided an exciting new opportunity for infrared (IR) imaging. Instead of collecting a full IR spectrum at each point, it is possible to focus on distinct spectral bands to reduce imaging data collection time. This study explores a laser direct infrared (LDIR) chemical imaging approach that couples QCL technology with rapid scanning optics to provide high-definition chemical images at an order of magnitude faster than traditional imaging techniques. The capabilities of LDIR chemical imaging were evaluated for pharmaceutical formulations and compared with other established spectroscopic chemical imaging techniques including Raman, near-infrared (NIR) and scanning electron microscopy-energy dispersive X-ray (SEM-EDX) spectroscopy with regards to data acquisition time and image quality. The study showed that LDIR imaging provided high-definition component distribution maps comparable to Raman and SEM-EDX at orders of magnitude faster in terms of time. The ability to obtain high-definition chemical images of the whole tablet surface in relatively fast time frames indicates LDIR imaging could be a promising tool in the pharmaceutical industry to rapidly characterise the size and distribution of components within tablets and could help enhance drug product manufacturing understanding.


Carruthers, Hannah ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-1702-4351, Clark, Don, Clarke, Fiona C., Faulds, Karen ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-5567-7399 and Graham, Duncan ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-6079-2105;