Scientists Shoot Microwaves at Drugs

Achievement date: 
2014
Outcome/accomplishment: 

Researchers at the Center for Structured Organic Particulate Systems (C-SOPS), an NSF-funded Engineering Research Center (ERC) based at Rutgers University, have developed a novel microwave sensor for continuous pharmaceutical manufacturing systems. This is the first microwave sensor that can monitor uniformity of particulate blends as they flow through pipes.

Impact/benefits: 

Realization of this technology defies the conventional wisdom that microwave sensors are not capable of determining blend uniformity in a continuous process. Near Infrared (NIR) probes are the current industry standard for measuring compositions. The tests carried out by this team show that their microwave is just as good as the NIR with the added function of determining blend uniformity.

Explanation/Background: 

The biggest advantage of the new sensor lies in the way it’s shaped. NIR sensors are probes and they only take measurements from a single point in the pipeline. The new sensor takes the shape of a plate and can scan a much larger area in a single sweep. By scanning a larger area, small differences can be observed, which leads to a measurement of uniformity.