Research area: Pharmaceutical Nanopowders

Research sponsor: EPSRC and Pfizer

Project overview

Characterisation of physico-chemical properties of sub 1 micron particles and their influence on powders handling and performance

The formulation of many new drug candidates is often limited by their poor solubility. One of the options to overcome this problem is to reduce the particles size, which would lead to faster dissolution and hence greater bioavailability. However, size reduction has a profound effect on particle properties. In addition, micronisation process can induce further changes in the surface properties, which in turn affect powder properties and performance.

In this project the properties of fine powders will be investigated in order to determine how fines differ from coarse particles. The project will involve preparation of nanosized samples using various techniques including top-down approach, bottom-up approach and combination method. Next a Micro-Orifice Uniform Deposit Impactor (MOUDI) will be used to classify sub 1 micron particles, which will be subsequently used for characterization. Characterization will be carried out using finite concentration IGC to determine surface and bulk thermodynamic properties as well as a Non-contact Vibrating Capacitive Probe for electrostatic measurements in order to study the effect of powder handling on its behavior. In addition the correlation between surface properties of powders and their formulation will be attempted.

1. J. W. Kwek, M. Jeyabalasingam, W. K. Ng, J. Y. Y. Heng and R. B. H. Tan, “Comparative study of the triboelectric charging behaviour of powders using a nonintrusive approach”, Ind. Eng. Chem. Res. (2012), 51, 16488-16494.
2. R. Ho and J. Y. Y. Heng, “A Review of Inverse Cas Chromatography and its Development as a Tool to Characterize Anisotropic Surface Properties of Pharmaceutical Solids”, KONA Powder and Particle Journal (2013), 30, 164-180.
3. G. D. Wang, F. P. Mallet, F. Ricard and J. Y. Y. Heng, “Pharmaceutical nanocrystals”, Curr. Op. Chem. Eng. (2012), 1, 102-107.