Adding Raman Microspectroscopy to the Pharmaceutical Analytical Laboratory (American Laboratory)

Kathleen A. Martin, Ph.D.
American Laboratory – September 8, 2015

Analytical laboratories in the pharmaceutical industry may serve many masters: manufacturing operations needs to release product quickly; quality assurance protects patients; product development requires analyses to support understanding of product stability, delivery systems and other factors.

A contract analytical laboratory that works with many pharmaceutical companies, McCrone Associates (Westmont, Ill.) has used Raman microspectroscopy to solve problems for many departments within client organizations. This paper describes applications, advantages and disadvantages  of Raman microspectroscopy by way of comparison to infrared (IR) microspectroscopy.

Industrial laboratories use a variety of instruments to assay and characterize raw materials and products, including gas and liquid chromatographs, infrared spectrometersmass spectrometers, and scanning electron microscopes (SEMs), in addition to wet chemistry capabilities.

The still-growing field of Raman microspectroscopy has many pharmaceutical industry applications and can be an important adjunct to other analytical instrumentation. Raman spectroscopy is sometimes erroneously thought of as a “grown-up” version of IR spectroscopy, but it differs from infrared spectroscopy in several ways and the two techniques complement each other.

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