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Adv Drug Deliv Rev. 2012 Apr;64(5):449-60. doi: 10.1016/j.addr.2011.07.008. Epub 2011 Aug 10.

Thermal scanning probe microscopy in the development of pharmaceuticals.

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School of Pharmacy, University of East Anglia, Norwich, Norfolk, NR4 7TJ, UK.


The ability to characterize the physical and chemical properties of dosage forms is crucial to a more complete understanding of how vehicles for drug delivery behave and therefore how effective they are. Spatially resolved characterization that enables the visualization of properties on the nanoscale is particularly powerful. The usefulness of scanning probe microscopy (SPM) in the field of drug delivery is becoming increasingly well established and the use of thermal probes offers new capabilities thus enabling SPM to provide more and sometimes unique information. One type of measurement enabled by thermal probes is determining transition temperatures by means of local thermal analysis. The ability to identify and characterize materials in this way has found applications in characterizing a wide range of dosage forms. A complimentary thermal probe technique is photothermal infrared microspectroscopy (PTMS). PTMS offers a variety of advantages over more conventional approaches including the ability analyze compacts without the need for thin sections. It is also able to achieve sub-micron spatial resolution. Thermal probe techniques can characterize pharmaceutical dosage forms in terms of their physical properties and their chemical composition.

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