• Chemical imaging of drug delivery systems with structured surfaces-a combined analytical approach of confocal raman microscopy and optical profilometry.

      Kann, Birthe; Windbergs, Maike; Department of Biopharmaceutics and Pharmaceutical Technology, Saarland University, Campus A4.1, 66123 Saarbruecken, Germany. (2013-04)
      Confocal Raman microscopy is an analytical technique with a steadily increasing impact in the field of pharmaceutics as the instrumental setup allows for nondestructive visualization of component distribution within drug delivery systems. Here, the attention is mainly focused on classic solid carrier systems like tablets, pellets, or extrudates. Due to the opacity of these systems, Raman analysis is restricted either to exterior surfaces or cross sections. As Raman spectra are only recorded from one focal plane at a time, the sample is usually altered to create a smooth and even surface. However, this manipulation can lead to misinterpretation of the analytical results. Here, we present a trendsetting approach to overcome these analytical pitfalls with a combination of confocal Raman microscopy and optical profilometry. By acquiring a topography profile of the sample area of interest prior to Raman spectroscopy, the profile height information allowed to level the focal plane to the sample surface for each spectrum acquisition. We first demonstrated the basic principle of this complementary approach in a case study using a tilted silica wafer. In a second step, we successfully adapted the two techniques to investigate an extrudate and a lyophilisate as two exemplary solid drug carrier systems. Component distribution analysis with the novel analytical approach was neither hampered by the curvature of the cylindrical extrudate nor the highly structured surface of the lyophilisate. Therefore, the combined analytical approach bears a great potential to be implemented in diversified fields of pharmaceutical sciences.