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Eur J Pharm Sci. 2006 Jul;28(4):315-24. Epub 2006 Mar 28.

A comparison of morphology and surface energy characteristics of sulfathiazole polymorphs based upon single particle studies.

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Laboratory of Biophysics and Surface Analysis, School of Pharmacy, University of Nottingham, NG7 2RD United Kingdom.


The morphological, adhesion and surface energetic properties of three sulfathiazole polymorphs (III, IV and polymorph I prepared from both acetone and methanol, designated I-ace and I-met, respectively) produced using Nektar supercritical fluid (SCF) technology have been characterized using scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and atomic force microscopy (AFM). Surface roughness values for each polymorph were determined at different length scales. At sample sizes less than 1micromx1microm the polymorphs rank in terms of roughness as follows: I-met>I-ace approximately equal to IV>III. At the larger scales the polymorphs rank in terms of roughness as follows: I-met>III>I-ace approximately equal to IV. The surface energies for polymorphs determined against graphite (HOPG) and particles of the same polymorph were, respectively, I-met: 0.99mJm(-2) (S.D. 1.25mJm(-2)), 3.09mJm(-2) (S.D. 2.67mJm(-2)); I-ace: 309mJm(-2) (S.D. 329mJm(-2)), 16mJm(-2) (S.D. 11mJm(-2)); III: 1.17mJm(-2) (S.D. 1.5mJm(-2)), 5.4mJm(-2) (S.D. 3.6mJm(-2)); IV: 20.35mJm(-2) (S.D. 28.5mJm(-2)), 16.8mJm(-2) (S.D. 9.6mJm(-2)). In terms of surface energies the polymorphs hence rank I-ace>IV>III approximately equal to I-met (HOPG adhesion measurements) and IV approximately equal to I-ace>III>I-met (particle cohesion measurements). Consideration of contacting asperities and surface roughness was shown to have limited effect on the surface energies, and instead the differences were ascribed to variations in the surface chemistry as a result of changes in crystallization mechanisms.

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