Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Infra red spotlights crystal growth

The creation of a reproducible crystallisation process is a fundamental challenge to drug manufacturers, but a technique which provides real time detailed analyses of chemical processes could provide an answer.

Developed by engineers at the University of Leeds, the technique uses infra-red spectroscopy to monitor supersaturation – the levels of chemical saturation in a liquid - required for crystallisation to begin to occur.

Most drug compounds are crystalline, manufactured in batch process systems. Small changes in crystallisation process conditions, such as temperature and cooling rates, can significantly affect the structure of the resulting crystals, something which affects both their physical properties and their performance.

“For example, when you cool water the molecules in the water have to get into the right position to begin crystallising into ice crystals and the temperature can have a bearing on the size of ice crystals that are formed,” says Dr Tariq Mahmud from the University’s School of Process, Environmental and Materials Engineering. “It’s similar with chemicals, although there’s a wider range of parameters to take into account.”

The new technique uses a probe attached to an infra-red spectrometer to measure the concentration of a specific chemical in solution. In laboratory experiments, this technique was used on the batch cooling crystallisation of chemical L-Glutamic acid (LGA). The information gained from the infra-red spectrometer is coupled with detailed statistical – or chemometric - data to provide a more detailed analysis of the crystallisation process than has been possible with other infra-red spectrometry techniques.

Dr Mahmud explains: “Using a chemometric approach enables us to take many more parameters into account, which makes it a more reliable predictor of the optimum concentration levels required to produce a particular crystal structure.”

The latest technique was developed by engineers at Leeds in collaboration with researchers at Newcastle and Heriot-Watt universities as part of the Chemicals Behaving Badly programme which is funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, along with ten industrial partners.

It is the latest in a raft of new “Quality by Design” (QBD) tools being developed for the pharmaceutical manufacturing sector as part of a drive for increased understanding of drug processing fundamentals. “By developing tools to increase knowledge about, and monitor, batch process systems, we’re providing practical solutions to problems faced by industry on a daily basis,” says Dr Mahmud. “This sort of technological approach to manufacture will help reduce waste – and therefore costs - and could have a significant role to play in increasing the competitiveness of the pharmaceutical sector.”

Clare Elsley | alfa
Further information:

More articles from Process Engineering:

nachricht Intelligent wheelchairs, predictive prostheses
20.12.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Produktionstechnik und Automatisierung IPA

nachricht Jelly with memory – predicting the leveling of com-mercial paints
15.12.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Produktionstechnik und Automatisierung IPA

All articles from Process Engineering >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Researchers Discover New Anti-Cancer Protein

An international team of researchers has discovered a new anti-cancer protein. The protein, called LHPP, prevents the uncontrolled proliferation of cancer cells in the liver. The researchers led by Prof. Michael N. Hall from the Biozentrum, University of Basel, report in “Nature” that LHPP can also serve as a biomarker for the diagnosis and prognosis of liver cancer.

The incidence of liver cancer, also known as hepatocellular carcinoma, is steadily increasing. In the last twenty years, the number of cases has almost doubled...

Im Focus: Researchers at Fraunhofer monitor re-entry of Chinese space station Tiangong-1

In just a few weeks from now, the Chinese space station Tiangong-1 will re-enter the Earth's atmosphere where it will to a large extent burn up. It is possible that some debris will reach the Earth's surface. Tiangong-1 is orbiting the Earth uncontrolled at a speed of approx. 29,000 km/h.Currently the prognosis relating to the time of impact currently lies within a window of several days. The scientists at Fraunhofer FHR have already been monitoring Tiangong-1 for a number of weeks with their TIRA system, one of the most powerful space observation radars in the world, with a view to supporting the German Space Situational Awareness Center and the ESA with their re-entry forecasts.

Following the loss of radio contact with Tiangong-1 in 2016 and due to the low orbital height, it is now inevitable that the Chinese space station will...

Im Focus: Alliance „OLED Licht Forum“ – Key partner for OLED lighting solutions

Fraunhofer Institute for Organic Electronics, Electron Beam and Plasma Technology FEP, provider of research and development services for OLED lighting solutions, announces the founding of the “OLED Licht Forum” and presents latest OLED design and lighting solutions during light+building, from March 18th – 23rd, 2018 in Frankfurt a.M./Germany, at booth no. F91 in Hall 4.0.

They are united in their passion for OLED (organic light emitting diodes) lighting with all of its unique facets and application possibilities. Thus experts in...

Im Focus: Mars' oceans formed early, possibly aided by massive volcanic eruptions

Oceans formed before Tharsis and evolved together, shaping climate history of Mars

A new scenario seeking to explain how Mars' putative oceans came and went over the last 4 billion years implies that the oceans formed several hundred million...

Im Focus: Tiny implants for cells are functional in vivo

For the first time, an interdisciplinary team from the University of Basel has succeeded in integrating artificial organelles into the cells of live zebrafish embryos. This innovative approach using artificial organelles as cellular implants offers new potential in treating a range of diseases, as the authors report in an article published in Nature Communications.

In the cells of higher organisms, organelles such as the nucleus or mitochondria perform a range of complex functions necessary for life. In the networks of...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Industry & Economy
Event News

Virtual reality conference comes to Reutlingen

19.03.2018 | Event News

Ultrafast Wireless and Chip Design at the DATE Conference in Dresden

16.03.2018 | Event News

International Tinnitus Conference of the Tinnitus Research Initiative in Regensburg

13.03.2018 | Event News

Latest News

Modular safety concept increases flexibility in plant conversion

22.03.2018 | Trade Fair News

New interactive map shows climate change everywhere in world

22.03.2018 | Earth Sciences

New technologies and computing power to help strengthen population data

22.03.2018 | Earth Sciences

Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>