AFM for Pharmaceutical Applications

Atomic force microscopy (AFM) is a complementary technique to optical and electron microscopy methods for pharmaceutical applications. AFM is commonly used to examine excipients, aid in characterizing particles for pulmonary drug delivery, and determine surface properties to optimize pharmaceutical processing. The surface morphology of pharmaceutical particles impact the flow properties and processing of pharmaceutical powders. Surface topology and roughness of particle and coating surfaces can be quantified with high resolution using AFM. 

Because AFM is a probe instrument, relative measurements of adhesion, friction, and hardness can be made in air or liquid. By attaching a pharmaceutical particle to an AFM cantilever, particle interactions can be studied in different environments. 

Using advanced imaging modes, a variety of properties can be determined. For example, AFM results from scanning thermal microscopy may be correlated to standard calorimetry data used to identify the form a drug takes within a formulation.