Handheld Raman Analysis for the Pharmaceutical Industry

The Inspector 500 is a Raman Analyzer from SciAps that uses an advanced 1030 nm laser source to reliably detect virtually any Raman-active compounds, such as Croscarmellose, Microcrystalline Cellulose (MCCs), and nutrients like Folic Acid.

Historically, these compounds are difficult to analyze using typical 785 nm laser excitation. The innovative SciAps Raman analyzer however eliminates the problem associated with fluorescing compounds.

Key Features of Inspector 500

Users can easily operate the Inspector 500 with one hand on-the-go, thanks to its thumbwheel drive, which enables true single-handed operation of the analyzer and display. It is generally difficult to operate touch screens while wearing gloves. However, the push thumbwheel of the Inspector allows complete control without removing protective hand gear.

Inspector 500

Figure 1. Inspector 500

The innovative 1030 nm laser used in the Raman analyzer was specially designed for providing reliable determination of fluorescence-inducing compounds like MCCs. The selection of 1030 nm laser over 1064 nm was because of its compatibility with a lower power consuming detector system. This resulted in a smaller footprint, lighter weight, more portable handheld device with extended battery life.

The combination of the slightly lower 1030 nm wavelength and SciAps’ free-space optics technology enables the Inspector 500 to achieve signal levels comparable to heavier, bulkier 1064 nm instruments. This means less fluorescence, more signal and better1030 nm portability. According to SciAps, the ergonomics of its Inspector class Raman analyzers are superior to any other handheld Raman device.

Features of Inspector 500

Figure 2. Features of Inspector 500

The Inspector is well-balanced, tapered and fitted with a well-placed wrist strap, thus resulting in a handheld Raman analyzer that can be easily manipulated and operated single-handedly by all types of end-users, with or without gloves. The tapered design of the SciAps analyzer facilitates comfortable operation in all configurations: above the head of users, analysis at knee or foot level, into a container, or even reaching behind or beneath a container of material.

The Safety features of the Inspector 500 are really exceptional, thanks to SciAps’ patented right-angle testing accessory which ensures outstanding laser eye safety. The analyzer is put onto a bagged sample, or in direct contact on a benchtop, and operated hands-free. The risk associated with diffuse laser light is greatly reduced because the laser points directly into the sample, thus ensuring safer operation.

SciAps’ off-the-shelf barcode reader yields sample ID data immediately through Bluetooth into the Inspector. The company suggests off-the-shelf barcode readers over those incorporated into the analyzer. Small HH barcode reader is easily portable, reaching barcodes overhead and reaching around or behind large containers. This configuration is more convenient than controlling a ‘brick shaped’ Raman analyzer featuring an internal barcode scanner and allows easy upgrade or replacement with no need to returning to the Raman unit in the case of new standards. Moreover, it is not possible to use the Raman unit during the malfunctioning of internal barcode scanners. These issues can be eliminated with low-cost off-the-shelf barcode scanners.

SciAps’ NuSpec generation software delivers 100% visibility and control to authorized users. It allows viewing, modification and customization of decision-making, Pass/Fail criteria, and method setup with appropriate password access. The Inspector 500 is also compatible with many commercially available chemo-metrics programs.

Comparison of 785 nm Laser and 1030 nm Laser

Raman spectra obtained from MCC generic and Croscarmellose utilizing Inspector 300 (785 nm laser) and Inspector 500 (1030 nm laser) are depicted in Figures 3 and 4. At 785 nm excitation, the Raman peaks of the MCC and Croscarmellose do not show features when compared to those acquired at 1030 nm excitation, because of the large fluorescence background. On the other hand, the Inspector 500 yields a clear signature for compound ID.

Comparative 785 nm and 1030 nm Spectra for MCC Generic

Figure 3. Comparative 785 nm and 1030 nm Spectra for MCC Generic

MCC is a particularly good example as it allows modification to different degrees of crystallinity typically in the range of 40% to 60%. The Raman peaks from MCC that have a higher amount of amorphous material are broader at 785 nm excitation. Hence, the 1030 nm Inspector 500 is required for verification.

Comparative 785 nm and 1030 nm Spectra for Croscarmellose

Figure 4. Comparative 785 nm and 1030 nm Spectra for Croscarmellose

Conclusion

Since the specific formulation of MCCs may be different from product to product, the suitable option in Raman technology is the 1030 nm laser used in the Inspector 500.

This information has been sourced, reviewed and adapted from materials provided by SciAps, Inc.

For more information on this source, please visit SciAps, Inc.

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