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Characterisation of Drug Nanoparticles by Atomic Force Microscopy

N.A. Bailey, J. Booth and B.C. Clark
AstraZeneca, UK

Keywords:
AFM, nanoparticles, imaging

Abstract:
A key consideration when developing a drug nanoparticle formulation, particularly when intended for parenteral administration, is the control of particle size, shape and physical properties such as dissolution rate and stability with respect to Ostwald ripening. These factors, in turn, determine the safety, shelf life and pharmacokinetic performance of such dosage forms. Consequently, applying meaningful approaches to the characterisation of drug nanoparticles is a prerequisite to the development of viable formulations. Atomic Force Microscopy has emerged as an important technique for studying particles in the colloidal size range. AFM allows detailed analysis of the dimensions and architecture of individual particles and is therefore complementary to “bulk” particle-sizing techniques such as light scattering, which are applied routinely to the characterisation of nanoparticles. The technique has been further developed to enable real time imaging in order to track spherulite growth in polymers. AFM also enables investigation of the affect of different additives, surfactants, and methods of formulation on crystal growth.
 
Examples of characterisation of nanoparticles by AFM will be presented as well as potential applications and further work suggested.

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