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J Pharm Biomed Anal. 2008 Dec 15;48(5):1310-5. doi: 10.1016/j.jpba.2008.09.008. Epub 2008 Sep 11.

Raman detected differential scanning calorimetry of polymorphic transformations in acetaminophen.

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  • 1Food and Drug Administration, Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, Division of Pharmaceutical Analysis, 1114 Market Street, St. Louis, MO 63101, United States.


Acetaminophen is known to crystallize in three polymorphic forms. Thermally induced transformations between the crystalline forms and the super-cooled liquid have been observed by differential scanning calorimetry (DSC), but the assignment of calorimetric transitions to specific polymorphic transformations remains challenging, because the transition temperatures for several transformations are close to one another, and the characteristics of the observed transitions depend on experimental variables that are often poorly controlled. This paper demonstrates the simultaneous application of DSC and Raman microscopy for the observation of thermally driven transitions between polymorphs of pharmaceutical materials. Raman detected differential scanning calorimetry (RD-DSC) has been used to monitor the DSC thermograms of super-cooled liquid acetaminophen and confirms the assignment of two exothermic transitions to specific polymorphic transformations. Principal component analysis of the Raman spectra have been used to determine the number of independent components that participate in the phase transformations, and multivariate regression has been used to determine transition temperatures from the spectral data. The influence of the laser excitation source on measured DSC thermograms has also been investigated, and it has been demonstrated that a baseline shift occurs in RD-DSC when a polymorphic transformation occurs between crystalline and amorphous forms. RD-DSC has been used to examine the influence of sample aging and sample pan configuration on the observed polymorphic transformations, and both of these variables were found to influence the thermal behavior of the sample. The results demonstrate the advantage of simultaneous Raman spectroscopy and differential scanning calorimetry for the unambiguous assignment of thermally driven polymorphic transformations.

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