A Solid Contribution to Spectroscopy

Published on: 
Pharmaceutical Technology, Pharmaceutical Technology-04-02-2007, Volume 31, Issue 4

A wealth of citations helps illustrate the applicability of the analytical methods and also highlights their pitfalls.

In the preface to Spectroscopy of Pharmaceutical Solids, editor Harry Brittain states the rather lofty objective of providing "a greater degree of fundamental understanding ... necessary to obtain maximal use out of each [solid-state spectroscopy] technique." This text accomplishes its goal through the clear and cogent writing of Brittain and his coauthors, including Dave Bugay, James Drennen, Robert Cogdill, and Ales Medek. The book explores topics such as mid-infrared, near-infrared (NIR), and Raman spectroscopy, as well as solid-state nuclear magnetic resonance. Brittain himself contributes chapters about X-ray techniques, UV–vis, and luminescence spectroscopy.

Steve Doherty, PhD

The book opens with a brief primer about electromagnetic radiation and spectroscopy, showing the derivation of quantum theory and its implications for spectroscopy. Subsequent major sections focus, logically and sequentially, on core-electron, valence-electron, vibrational, and nuclear-spin spectroscopies. Each major section opens with a chapter describing the fundamental interactions behind particular spectroscopic techniques. These concepts are provided in a concise but detailed manner, analogous to the treatment in a college-level text. Each of the subsequent chapters lists many illustrative citations from the scientific literature. For example, the chapter on solid-state nuclear magnetic resonance spectrometry has 618 references that help demonstrate the applicability of the analytical methods while highlighting the pitfalls in using the techniques. In addition, relevant figures and tables are reproduced to illustrate some of the more important points.


For each of the spectroscopic techniques, citations are provided from both the bulk-active and formulated product areas, as is perspective relevant to both the development and manufacturing environments. With the recent increased interest in pharmaceutical spectroscopy arising from the well-publicized FDA-sponsored process analytical technology and quality by design (QbD) initiatives, the appearance of this text is quite timely. Several of the technique chapters highlight on-line applications and show their relevance to fulfilling QbD objectives. Furthermore, fairly recent developments such as Raman and NIR imaging are described.

Spectroscopy of Pharmaceutical Solids, Harry G. Brittain, Ed., Informa Healthcare, New York, NY, 2006, 592 pp., ISBN 9781574448931.

This generally well-written text has a few minor faults. It omits some relevant spectroscopic advances. For example, although the book describes using chalcogenide fiber-optic elements in infrared spectrometry, it does not mention silver-halide fibers. Some of the characteristic-absorbance tables and other data could have been compiled in appendices for ease of access. The text detailing the similarities and differences between spectroscopy in the laboratory and manufacturing settings could have been supplemented, even though, as stated previously, the book's focus is intended to be fundamental in nature.

All in all, this book is a handy reference that combines textbook-like theory with timely and illustrative citations. It would be a worthwhile resource for neophytes in the field of pharmaceutical spectroscopy, as well as practitioners wishing to refresh their understanding.

Steve Doherty, PhD, is a senior research scientist in the Process Analytical Technology Group at Eli Lilly and Company, DC 4210, Indianapolis, IN 46285, tel. 317.651.1580, dohertysj@lilly.com