Volume 85 Issue 6 | p. 26 | Concentrates
Issue Date: February 5, 2007

Raman technique sees through counterfeit drugs

Department: Science & Technology | Collection: Critter Chemistry

Spatially offset Raman spectroscopy (SORS), a technique invented two years ago by Pavel Matousek at Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, in Didcot, England, and his colleagues, could serve as a more accurate method for scanning and identifying counterfeit pharmaceuticals while still in their packaging (Anal. Chem., DOI: 10.1021/ac062223z). Counterfeit drugs have emerged as a serious global problem. Handheld near-infrared or Raman spectrometers are used to inspect medicines throughout the supply chain, but the sensitivity is generally low because of interference from the packaging. Instead of detecting scattered light directly from the site of the incident laser beam, the SORS method detects scattered light from regions laterally offset from the incident beam by a few millimeters, which in effect means the laser and detector are grossly misaligned. This misalignment, usually avoided in spectroscopy, helps reduce interference from plastic bottles, blister packaging, and capsules or tablet coatings and helps produce better resolved spectra of active ingredients, the researchers explain.

 
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