Characterization of the Pore Structure of Functionalized Calcium Carbonate Tablets by Terahertz Time-Domain Spectroscopy and X-Ray Computed Microtomography

Daniel Markl, Parry Wang, Cathy Ridgway, Anssi Pekka Karttunen, Mousumi Chakraborty, Prince Bawuah, Pertti Pääkkönen, Patrick Gane, Jarkko Ketolainen, Kai-Erik Peiponen, J. Axel Zeitler*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

60 Citations (Scopus)
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Novel excipients are entering the market to enhance the bioavailability of drug particles by having a high porosity and, thus, providing a rapid liquid uptake and disintegration to accelerate subsequent drug dissolution. One example of such a novel excipient is functionalized calcium carbonate, which enables the manufacture of compacts with a bimodal pore size distribution consisting of larger interparticle and fine intraparticle pores. Five sets of functionalized calcium carbonate tablets with a target porosity of 45%-65% were prepared in 5% steps and characterized using terahertz time-domain spectroscopy and X-ray computed microtomography. Terahertz time-domain spectroscopy was used to derive the porosity using effective medium approximations, that is, the traditional and an anisotropic Bruggeman model. The anisotropic Bruggeman model yields the better correlation with the nominal porosity (R 2 = 0.995) and it provided additional information about the shape and orientation of the pores within the powder compact. The spheroidal (ellipsoids of revolution) shaped pores have a preferred orientation perpendicular to the compaction direction causing an anisotropic behavior of the dielectric porous medium. The results from X-ray computed microtomography confirmed the nonspherical shape and the orientation of the pores, and it further revealed that the anisotropic behavior is mainly caused by the interparticle pores. The information from both techniques provides a detailed insight into the pore structure of pharmaceutical tablets. This is of great interest to study the impact of tablet microstructure on the disintegration and dissolution performance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1586–1595
JournalJournal of Pharmaceutical Sciences
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - May 2017
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • Imaging methods
  • Mathematical models
  • Mechanical properties
  • Physical characterization
  • Refractive index
  • Solid dosage form
  • Spectroscopy


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