Infrared (IR) microscopes are commonly found in pharmaceutical labs around the globe for use in product development, quality control, and even counterfeit drug analysis. By generating images with chemical selectivity, they allow labs to reduce manufacturing times and product variability. In essence, they help shorten the time-to-market and reduce product failures.
So, what’s so special about the new Nicolet RaptIR FTIR Microscope?
Scientists use an IR microscopy system to acquire a broad view of the sample to locate active pharmaceutical ingredients, excipients, and polymorphic forms. Then, they often need to zoom in on areas of interest to analyze them in greater detail. Traditional IR microscopy systems are typically good at one thing or the other.
The Nicolet RaptIR FTIR Microscope improves pharmaceutical research by providing a broad view of a sample, with the ability to zoom in on areas of interest.
The beauty of the new Nicolet RaptIR FTIR Microscope is that it equips users to do both types of analyses. Not only can they find a “needle in the haystack,” but they can view it in high resolution to determine exactly what kind of “needle” it really is, which saves time and generates better results for the lab.
In addition to generating stunning, high-quality visual images, the Nicolet RaptIR FTIR Microscope allows users to obtain measurements throughout the full infrared spectrum, covering both organics and inorganics. The microscope is always coupled to a Thermo Scientific Nicolet FTIR Spectrometer. Using it with the Thermo Scientific Nicolet iS50 FTIR Spectrometer provides a broader array of capabilities, including FT-Raman, TGA-IR, NIR, far-infrared, and diamond ATR, for addressing complex analytical challenges. The possible uses in the pharmaceutical industry are numerous.
A busy quality control lab needs fast, accurate results to analyze drug batches before release. Researchers look at batch-to-batch variation, identify foreign particulates, and assess chemical make-up to resolve issues or address complaints. With its speed and agility, the Nicolet RaptIR FTIR Microscope provides analytical results in minutes so users can quickly and accurately analyze samples with minimum effort.
Product development and R&D
During product development, R&D scientists aim to control and optimize dissolution or distribution of materials through refinement and adjustment of formulations and processes. In addition to solid and oral dosage forms, inhaled drug products also need to be analyzed: inhaled products are often delivered with metered dose inhalers where drug distribution, agglomerates, and crystallinity of active ingredients are of utmost importance.
The Nicolet RaptIR FTIR Microscope offers ultrafast chemical mapping of large areas so R&D scientists can compare the sprayed profile of a drug while simultaneously obtaining information on the distribution & crystallinity of the active pharmaceutical ingredient and characterize agglomeration of the particles.
Foreign particulate testing
Identification of foreign particulates is critically important to pharmaceutical labs as well. Scientists use IR microscopy to identify and distinguish between non-proteinaceous and proteinaceous particles.
The Nicolet RaptIR FTIR Microscope offers a unique solution for the identification of foreign particulates in parenteral, biologics, and ophthalmic solutions. With just one step from image acquisition to analysis, the microscope provides fast results in the particulate analysis workflow. It provides researchers with a wide field of view to identify particulates and then hones in on them with high resolution. The system’s ability to produce measurements in transmission, reflection, and attenuated total reflection modes is particularly valuable in pharmaceutical research which is a heavily regulated industry around the world. As regional regulations and sample types differ, the flexibility to follow the entire pharmaceutical workflow with one system, regardless of regulations or sample types, provides key efficiencies in the lab.
Biologics formulation development
During formulation of biotherapeutics, pharmaceutical labs need to evaluate the stability of proposed formulations. Chemical and physical factors such as unstable temperatures or shear rate exposure under storage can lead to interactions that negatively affect the bioactivity of the therapeutic.
IR microscopy analyzes secondary structures and helps pharmaceutical companies understand and address such interactions before releasing a biotherapeutic into the market. This is another example of how the extraordinary ability of the Nicolet RaptIR FTIR Microscope to analyze a wide field of view and provide high-resolution images of areas of interest can benefit users, since it helps them identify concerning situations more quickly and confidently.
There are myriad other applications of our Nicolet RaptIR FTIR Microscope. The clarity of the images and the ability to find areas of interest and examine them in high resolution makes a significant difference in research workflows. The Nicolet RaptIR FTIR Microscope lets researchers find—and analyze—that “needle in the haystack.”
To learn more, visit our Nicolet RaptIR FTIR Microscope webpage.
Shaileshkumar Karavadra is an applications manager at Thermo Fisher Scientific.