Instrumentation for Nanomaterials

McCrone Microscopes & Accessories’ (MMA) team of technical sales experts remain the premier microscopy resource for microscopists worldwide. During recent years, MMA has increased their offerings to include systems capable of much greater magnification and resolution, all the way down to “sub-micron”, or “nano-scale.” In addition to the light microscope, a scanning electron microscope (SEM) allows a particular pharmaceutical quality control (QC) staff to detect and characterize microscopic changes in properties and particles that impact a drug’s formulation and release.

Recently, a Fortune 500 company’s R&D group was looking for new equipment that would help them become more cost-effective while still achieving the same quality results. The principal scientist for the R&D group visited MMA’s booth at the AAPS tradeshow where we were demonstrating the analytical capabilities of the JEOL NeoScope II Benchtop SEM. Impressed with its imaging quality and small footprint, she purchased the benchtop SEM for her laboratory. The NeoScope II, offered by MMA, is a compact, automated SEM designed to give you almost all the functionality of its full-sized counterparts with none of the learning curve. With a magnification range of 10X to 60,000X, and resolution <25nm, the NeoScope II is the industry’s most powerful benchtop SEM. The high resolution, large depth of field and increased surface sensitivity give users the ability to image micrometer to submicrometer specimens.

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Prior to the NeoScope II, samples that necessitated SEM analysis had to be outsourced to another pharmaceutical facility. The total workflow would take from days to weeks. Now, with access to SEM analysis in her own laboratory, she can process the majority of the samples in less than 20 minutes. The NeoScope’s accelerated workflow has increased the R&D group’s sample throughput and has enabled the execution of tests never before performed. The group’s newfound ability to perform drug stability tests in-house is crucial to achieving a drug’s maximum therapeutic benefit. As with all biologics, any slight changes in morphology can affect the safety and efficacy of a drug. With the NeoScope II, R&D scientists are now able to quickly and accurately image the samples before and after a variety of stress tests at varying time increments. If a morphological change occurs at any point during the test, they can now provide immediate physical evidence of the change by recording the image on the NeoScope II. These data can then be used to reformulate the drug to prevent such changes from occurring in the future. “It was difficult to achieve robust and timely data with the outsourced stability tests we ran in the past. Additional time and shipping stress made it impossible to do so accurately. The NeoScope II is perfect for this kind of time-sensitive testing,” said the principal scientist. “It has been a really nice addition to the lab.”

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