Research Article Pharmaceutics, Drug Delivery and Pharmaceutical Technology| Volume 110, ISSUE 2, P833-849, February 01, 2021

Quantitative Microscopy: Particle Size/Shape Characterization, Addressing Common Errors Using ‘Analytics Continuum’ Approach

Published:September 20, 2020DOI:


      Particle size/shape characterization of active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) is integral to successful product development. It is more of a correlative property than a decision-making measure. Though microscopy is the only technique that provides a direct measure of particle properties, it is neglected for reasons like non-repeatability and non-reproducibility which is often attributed to a) fundamental error, b) segregation error, c) human error, d) sample randomness, e) sample representativeness etc. Using the “Sucrose” as model sample, we propose “analytics continuum” approach that integrates optical microscope PSD measurements complimented by NIR spectroscopy-based trending analysis as a prescreening tool to demonstrate sample randomness and representativeness. Furthermore, plethora of statistical tests are utilized to infer population statistics. Subsequently, an attribute-based control chart and bootstrap-based confidence interval was developed to monitor product performance. A flowchart to serve as an elementary guideline is developed, which is then extended to handle more complex situations involving API crystallized from two different solvent systems. The results show that the developed methodology can be utilized as a quantitative procedure to assess the suitability of API/excipients from different batches or from alternate vendors and can significantly help in understanding the differences between material even on a minor scale.


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