Mid-infrared (MIR) lasers are very high-brightness energy sources that are replacing conventional thermal sources (globars) in many infrared spectroscopy (IRS) techniques. Although not all laser properties have been exploited in depth, properties such as collimation, polarization, high brightness, and very high resolution have contributed to recast IRS tools. Applications of MIR laser spectroscopy to process analytical technology (PAT) are numerous and important. As an example, a compact grazing angle probe mount has allowed coupling to a MIR quantum cascade laser (QCL), enabling reflectance-absorbance infrared spectroscopy (RAIRS) measurements. This methodology, coupled to powerful multivariable analysis (MVA) routines of chemometrics and fast Fourier transform (FFT) preprocessing of the data resulted in very low limits of detection of active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) and high explosives (HEs) reaching trace levels. This methodology can be used to measure concentrations of surface contaminants for validation of cleanliness of pharmaceutical and biotechnology processing batch reactors and other manufacturing vessels. Another application discussed concerns the enhanced detection of microorganisms that can be encountered in pharmaceutical and biotechnology plants as contaminants and that could also be used as weapons of mass destruction in biological warfare. In the last application discussed, the concentration of APIs in formulations was determined by MIR laser spectroscopy and was cross validated with high-performance liquid chromatography.
Part of the book: Infrared Spectroscopy