Laboratory Instrumentation

Chemical Imaging Applications

By Malvern Panalytical

Chemical imaging is an exciting new analytical approach that enables the quantitative and spatial identification of chemical species in a sample. In very simple terms it can be considered as a chemical map.

By combining traditional infrared spectroscopy with microscopic and macroscopic imaging capabilities, a single rapid measurement enables analysts to obtain spatial and spectral information with unprecedented ease. The approach is aimed at providing a comprehensive analysis of complex heterogeneous samples.

It is well known that the spatial distribution of components in complex materials strongly influences both physical and chemical properties. Chemical imaging has found many uses in the pharmaceutical industry, polymer sciences, material sciences, forensics, pathology, and clinical diagnostics, as well as industrial quality and process control.

Chemical imaging is a particularly powerful tool for pharmaceuticals. Properties of solid dosage forms such as chemical domain characteristics, distribution of components, polymorph content and distribution, degree of hydration, location of contaminants or coating and layer thickness can all be determined. This knowledge can be used to design and manufacture products with superior performance and also to reduce the issues associated with product scale-up. In addition it can be used to understand the causes of bad or failing batches of existing products.