HEL recently assisted the Surface and Particle Engineering Laboratory (SPEL) at London's Imperial College with the installation of two reaction systems.
The first system, a manual reactor with the ability to change reaction vessels in a few minutes, is intended for open-access use, accommodating a range of general applications.
The second system is a fully automated reaction system offering capabilities such as crystallisation monitoring, automated solid dosing and pH monitoring.
The systems will be used to aid research in developing a fundamental understanding in the area of pharmaceutical particle engineering.
A current focus of the SPEL group is seeding for crystallisation.
This is widely used in industrial crystallisation to control crystal size distribution and crystal morphology (polymorphic) including crystal shapes.
Often, the seed particle size and amount is controlled.
Unexpected events, which may lead to variation in crystal size distribution, undesired polymorphic forms and/or products not meeting specification, still occur.
With the use of the HEL systems, SPEL will be able to better examine the effect of seed properties and their influence in crystallisation and the resulting crystal properties.
The overall aim is to deliver an improved fundamental understanding of the role of interfacial properties of seeds in crystallisation, which may result in the ability for improved and optimised control over crystallisation processes and crystal properties.
The key hypothesis here is that the interface may be very important in governing a range of interactions occurring at the solid-solid, solid-liquid, solid-vapour phases, SPEL says.