Determination of Impurities in acetaminophen crystals

This project is supported by the Simmons College Fund for Research.

Erica Gunn Research

Additives are ubiquitous in industrial crystallization processes, and have profound effects on the type, size, shape, and stability of the crystals obtained. These properties must be tightly controlled to produce a reliable consumer product and ensure a repeatable dosage. Industrial crystallization experts must rely on experience when developing a new drug, and the theory of drug-additive interactions is currently incomplete. Industrial crystallization experts must rely on experience when developing a new drug, as the theory of drug-additive interactions is currently incomplete. In this project Professor Gunn is studying the influence of additives on crystallization of acetaminophen. Crystals are grown in the presence of a known additive and are characterized using modeling software, scanning electron microscopy, and x-ray diffraction to determine their properties. Two different crystal forms can be obtained in these experiments. The researchers expect that growth rates and time for conversion from one crystal form to another will depend on the identity and concentration of additive present in the solution. Measuring the effect of different additives and their incorporation into acetaminophen crystals will elucidate the interactions between drug and additive molecules, and lead to more rational selection of additives during drug development.