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  Spatially resolved spectroscopy for pharmaceutical manufacturing process


   Department of Chemical and Process Engineering

   Applications accepted all year round  Awaiting Funding Decision/Possible External Funding

About the Project

Tablet is a complex pharmaceutical product in oral dosage form which contains blends of active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) and excipients. The feed frame is a force-feeding device before tablet compaction in pharmaceutical manufacturing. As the last processing step before forming tablets, feed frame is crucial within pharmaceutical manufacturing to guarantee the critical quality attributes of the tablets. In recent years, interest in this unit has increased because it can affect the properties of the powder blend and tablets, and because of its potential to achieve real-time release testing (RTRT) for the manufactured product by the use of Process Analytical Technology (PAT). 

PAT has played an important role in various stages of the pharmaceutical processes to provide in-line, real-time critical assessments of critical quality attributes. In this case, the potential of PAT to enables real time monitoring of powder blend uniformity is critical to ensure the final product quality. Many issues, such as particle attrition and additional microscopic mixing within the feed frame could cause over-lubrication and affect the tablet properties. However, many PAT tools are unsuccessful in fully describing the blend uniformity due to the techniques mainly measuring the surface of the mixture and the fast process speed of the unit. 

Spatially resolved spectroscopy (SRS) is developed for the two most widely studied PAT techniques, Raman and near-infrared (NIR) spectroscopy, to obtain subsurface chemical and physical information. This is achieved by collecting returning Raman and NIR photons which penetrate deep into the system and being scattered by the particle and agglomerates inside the system. This approach effectively increases the sampling area of a system for more representative analysis and can provide the profile of the system by analysing the differentiable signal corresponding to different depths. 

The project aims to identify opportunities and limitations enabled by the in-line SRS to achieve greater understanding of the blend uniformity within the powder mixture. 

The project has three major objectives: 

• Establish the performance matrix of SRS technique (for both Raman and NIR measurements) in describing subsurface uniformity; 

• Determine the physical and optical design to optimise the signal quality from the measurement and the information extracted; 

• Integrate the new knowledge gained to inform and improve feed frame process unit operation. 

In addition to undertaking cutting edge research, students are also registered for the Postgraduate Certificate in Researcher Development (PGCert), which is a supplementary qualification that develops a student’s skills, networks and career prospects. 

Information about the host department can be found by visiting: 

www.strath.ac.uk/engineering/chemicalprocessengineering 

www.strath.ac.uk/courses/research/chemicalprocessengineering/ 

The University of Strathclyde is a socially progressive institution that strives to ensure equality of opportunity and celebrates the diversity of its student and staff community. Strathclyde is people-oriented and collaborative, offering a supportive and flexible working culture with a deep commitment to our equality, diversity and inclusion charters, initiatives, groups and networks. 

We strongly encourage applications from Black, Asian and minority ethnicity, women, LGBT+, and disabled candidates and candidates from lower socio-economic groups and care-experienced backgrounds. 


Chemistry (6) Engineering (12) Materials Science (24)

Funding Notes

Awaiting for funding outcome. Funding may be available depending on the quality of the application and external funding scheme.

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