Greater resolution is often required as particle sizes are shrinking. Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) imaging quickly shows the size and morphology of particles. In less than a minute from load to image, the Phenom desktop SEM is the fastest way to get data and keep your research or product development work moving forward.

Ibuprofen powder low mag SEM

Colorized SEM image of ibuprofen powder

Morphology and Size Distribution

Understanding the morphology and size distribution of particles containing either active pharmaceutical ingredients (API) or excipients is critical when optimizing compounding processes and dissolution rates for controlled release of materials.  For crystalline particles, observation of crystal habit provides insight to the flowability, compaction, tableting, and other characteristics that impact product performance.

SEM images of particles

Phenom SEM image of pharmaceutical particles

Chemical Composition

Further, the chemical composition of particles in any given batch needs to be characterized when analyzing the efficacy of mixing or checking for foreign particulate matter. SEM can be paired with energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDS) to analyze the chemical composition of individual particles.

EDS Excipient with foreign particulate matter

  EDS of excipient with foreign particulate matter

R&D Example: Lubricant in a powder blend

Faster than mechanical testing, SEM imaging shows a lubricant particle in a powder blend and explains the resulting material properties. EDS indicates a signature element in the lubricant.

Lubricant in a powder blend example

The SEM images (left and center) show lubricant morphology and visual confirmation of lubricant dispersion in a blend and EDS mapping (right) enables the detection and location of trace elements

Automated Particle Analysis for Pharmaceutical Applications
Automated Particle Analysis for Pharmaceutical Applications

Accelerate workflow and remove operator bias for particle analysis

Particle Surface Morphology
Particle Surface Morphology

Use atomic force microscopy for particle surface topology