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Imaging Pharmaceutical Tablets with Optical Coherence Tomography

Mauritz J, Morrisby R, Hutton R, Legge C, Kaminski CF, "Imaging Pharmaceutical Tablets with Optical Coherence Tomography", Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences 98(7), 2009, DOI:10.1002/jps.21844, | pdf


Optical coherence tomography (OCT) is a recently developed optical technique that produces depth profiles of three-dimensional objects. It is a nondestructive interferometric method responding to refractive index variation in the sample under study and can reach a penetration depth of a few millimetres. OCT employs nearinfrared (NIR) light and therefore provides a link between NIR spectroscopy and Terahertz (THz) measurements that are often used to characterise tablets. In this article we assess the potential of OCT as a reliable and practical tool in the analysis of pharmaceutical tablets and coatings. A variety of tablets were tested with different shapes, formulations and coatings. We consider the origins of contrast in the obtained images and demonstrate that it correlates strongly with the expected tablet structure.

The influence of absorption and scattering are considered for the wavelength ranges used. The results show that OCT is a promising diagnostic tool with an important role to play in the tablet and coating technologies. The high measurement speed of OCT and its relative ease of implementation make it also an attractive candidate technology for inline quality control during manufacturing.