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Application of process analytical technology (PAT) tools for the better understanding and control of the crystallization of polymorphic and impure systems

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posted on 20.01.2016, 14:58 by Elena Simone
This work presents a comprehensive study on the application of PAT tools to study, monitor and control polymorphism during batch cooling crystallization processes. For the first time, the same techniques were used to control and adjust polymorphic purity of the solid phase but also to investigate the relation between chemical equilibrium in solution and polymorphic outcome of cooling crystallization. Crystallization is an important unit operation used as separation and purification technique. It is widely employed in the pharmaceutical, chemical, agrochemical, food and cosmetics industries but also in the electronic, metallurgic and material industries. More than 90% of the APIs on the market are produced by crystallization, therefore, monitoring and control this process is fundamental to ensure the quality of the final product. The implementation of process analytical technology (PAT) tools during the development stage of APIs has largely helped in better understanding and optimizing both batch and, more recently, continuous crystallization. Polymorphism is the capacity of a compound to crystallize in more than one different crystalline structure, which can have different properties such as density, melting point, bioavailability and solubility. The choice of solvent, pH, kinetic conditions and presence of impurities has very strong effect on the polymorphic outcome of a cooling crystallization in solution. Understanding this phenomenon as well as being able to monitor and control it during industrial crystallization is one the biggest challenges for pharmaceutical industries.


European Research Council (ERC)



  • Aeronautical, Automotive, Chemical and Materials Engineering


  • Chemical Engineering


© Elena Simone

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This work is made available according to the conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) licence. Full details of this licence are available at:

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A Doctoral Thesis. Submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of Doctor of Philosophy of Loughborough University.