New laser technique identifies pharmaceutical capsule content

February 19, 2008, Oxfordshire, England--Scientists at the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) Rutherford Appleton Laboratory have developed an effective laser-based method for the characterization of the bulk chemical content of pharmaceutical capsules--without opening the capsules.

February 19, 2008, Oxfordshire, England--Scientists at the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) Rutherford Appleton Laboratory have developed an effective laser-based method for the characterization of the bulk chemical content of pharmaceutical capsules--without opening the capsules.

In close collaboration with teams from pharmaceutical company Pfizer, the researchers in STFC's Lasers for Science Facility succeeded in quantifying the presence of the active pharmaceutical ingredient in production-line-relevant capsules to a relative error of 1%. Other established non-invasive methods were unable to reach the same level of accuracy with the same sample.

The development stems from research into a novel Raman spectroscopy method, spatially offset Raman spectroscopy, which is under development at STFC for a wide range of applications including the detection of explosives in non-metallic containers, the detection of counterfeit drugs through opaque packaging, and the non-invasive diagnosis of bone disease and cancer. The concepts, which are relatively simple to implement, were developed through experiments involving STFC's large-scale facilities which provided crucial insight into photon transport processes.

For more information, visit www.scitech.ac.uk.

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