Characterization of Topical Film-Forming Systems Using Atomic Force Microscopy and Raman Microspectroscopy

Hazel Garvie-cook, Kit Frederiksen, Karsten Petersson, Richard H. Guy, Sergey Gordeev

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27 Citations (SciVal)
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Polymeric film-forming systems for dermal drug delivery represent an advantageous alternative to more conventional topically applied formulations. Their mechanical properties and homogeneity can be characterized with atomic
force microscopy (AFM), using both imaging and nanoindentation modes, and Raman microspectroscopy mapping. Film-forming polymers, with and without a plasticizer and/or betamethasone 17-valerate (a representative topical drug), were dissolved in absolute ethanol. Polymeric films were then cast on glass slides and examined in ambient air using AFM imaging and Raman microspectroscopy. Using nanoindentation, the elastic moduli of various films were determined and found to decrease with increasing plasticizer content. Films with 20% w/w plasticizer had elastic moduli close to that of skin. AFM images showed little difference in the topography of the films on incorporation of plasticizer. Raman microspectroscopy maps of the surface of the polymeric films, with a spatial resolution of approximately 1 μm, revealed homogeneous distributions of plasticizer and drug within the films.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)751-757
Number of pages7
JournalMolecular Pharmaceutics
Issue number3
Early online date14 Jan 2015
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2015


  • atomic force microscopy
  • Raman microspectroscopy
  • nanoindentation
  • dermal drug delivery
  • polymeric film-forming systems


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