Terahertz Frequency Domain Sensing for Fast Porosity Measurement of Pharmaceutical Tablets
Artikel i vetenskaplig tidskrift, 2022

Porosity is an important property of pharmaceutical tablets since it may affect tablet disintegration, dissolution, and bio-availability. It is, therefore, essential to establish non-destructive, fast, and compact techniques to assess porosity, in-situ, during the manufacturing process. In this paper, the terahertz frequency-domain (THz-FD) technique was explored as a fast, non-destructive, and sensitive technique for porosity measurement of pharmaceutical tablets. We studied a sample set of 69 tablets with different design factors, such as particle size of the active pharmaceutical ingredient (API), Ibuprofen, particle size of the filler, Mannitol, API concentration, and compaction force. The signal transmitted through each tablet was measured across the frequency range 500-750 GHz using a vector network analyzer combined with a quasi-optical set-up consisting of four off-axis parabolic mirrors to guide and focus the beam. We first extracted the effective refractive index of each tablet from the measured complex transmission coefficients and then translated it to porosity, using an empirical linear relation between effective refractive index and tablet density. The results show that the THz-FD technique was highly sensitive to the variations of the design factors, showing that filler particle size and compaction force had a significant impact on the effective refractive index of the tablets and, consequently, porosity. Moreover, the fragmentation behavior of particles was observed by THz porosity measurements and was verified with scanning electron microscopy of the cross-section of tablets. In conclusion, the THz-FD technique, based on electronic solutions, allows for fast, sensitive, and non-destructive porosity measurement that opens for compact instrument systems capable of in-situ sensing in tablet manufacturing.

Porosity measurements

Pharmaceutical tablets

Dielectric characterisation

Terahertz technology


frequency domain


Anis Moradikouchi

Chalmers, Mikroteknologi och nanovetenskap, Terahertz- och millimetervågsteknik

Anders Sparén

AstraZeneca R&D

Staffan Folestad

AstraZeneca R&D

Jan Stake

Chalmers, Mikroteknologi och nanovetenskap, Terahertz- och millimetervågsteknik

Helena Rodilla

Chalmers, Mikroteknologi och nanovetenskap, Terahertz- och millimetervågsteknik

International Journal of Pharmaceutics

0378-5173 (ISSN)

Vol. 618 121579

Terahertsteknik för tillverkning av moderna läkemedel

Stiftelsen för Strategisk forskning (SSF) (ID17-0011), 2017-12-01 -- 2023-12-31.


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