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Crystalline Structure Analysis of Drugs with Terahertz Spectroscopy

The sensitivity and specificity of terahertz spectroscopy to both intermolecular and intramolecular vibrations in different chemical species enables investigation of the crystalline state of drugs e.g. polymorphism. The use of terahertz pulsed imaging (TPI™) in proteomics and drug discovery determines protein 3D structure, folding and characterization. Additionally, TPI™ is very sensitive to DNA hybridization and other interactions.


TeraView’s spectroscopy products provide rapid identification of the different crystalline forms of drug molecules – the polymorphs – which can display different solubilities, stabilities and bioavailability and therefore are an important factor in the therapeutic efficacy of a drug.

Detecting and identifying the different polymorphs and understanding the mechanism and dynamics of polymorphic interconversion, is an important milestone in selecting the optimum form for further development and manufacture. Not only is it possible to detect the differences between pure specimens of the polymorphs but terahertz spectroscopy can distinguish between specific polymorphic forms in the tablet formulation.

Terahertz spectroscopy can differentiate between different hydrate forms. Lactose, one of the most commonly used excipients in the pharmaceutical industry, forms at least three different hydrates: the most widely used a-monohydrate, the α-anhydrate and a β-anhydrate form. These three hydrate forms exhibit terahertz spectra that can be used for both quantitative and qualitative analysis.

The terahertz region also provides unique sensitivity to lattice structure enabling qualitative and quantitative analysis of crystalline and amorphous materials.  

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