Probing interfaces between pharmaceutical crystals and polymers by neutron reflectometry

John D. Yeager, Kyle J. Ramos, Changquan C. Sun, Saurabh Singh, Manish Dubey, Jaroslaw Majewski, Daniel E. Hooks

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Pharmaceutical powder engineering often involves forming interfaces between the drug and a suitable polymer. The structure at the interface plays a critical role in the properties and performance of the composite. However, interface structures have not been well understood due to a lack of suitable characterization tool. In this work, we have used ellipsometry and neutron reflectometry to characterize the structure of such interfaces in detail. Ellipsometry provided a quick estimate of the number of layers and their thicknesses, whereas neutron reflectometry provided richer structural information such as density, thickness, roughness, and intermixing of different layers. The combined information allowed us to develop an accurate model about the layered structure and provided information about intermixing of different layer components. Systematic use of these characterization techniques on several model systems suggests that the nature of the polymer had a small effect on the interfacial structure, while the solvent used in polymer coating had a large effect. These results provide useful information on the efforts of engineering particle properties through the control of the interfacial chemistry.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1953-1961
Number of pages9
JournalMolecular Pharmaceutics
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2 2012


  • acetaminophen
  • binder
  • cellulose
  • ellipsometry
  • films
  • interface
  • neutron reflectometry
  • polyvinylpyrrolidone
  • sulfamerazine


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