Research in conjunction with Ian Larson and Bridie Murphy, Victorian College of Pharmacy, Monash University, Australia.

Surface forces between lactose particles

Lactose is being increasingly used for pulmonary (inhaled) drug delivery. However, current lactose-based drug delivery systems have a quite low and variable delivery efficiency. While this is acceptable for the current generation of cheap drugs that have wide therapeutic windows, these limitations are expected to be unacceptable for future generations of drugs.

It is well-known that the particle size of the lactose grains has a significant influence on the delivery efficiency; the particle size is in turn dependent on the surface forces between the lactose particles which are expected to depend on the crystalline form of the lactose and the water content.

Research focussed on identifying the different anomeric forms by Raman microscopy, as shown below [1]. Subsequent research will look at the surface forces between characterised particles and surfaces.

Raman spectrum of a grain of amorphous lactose.

Raman spectrum of a grain of crystalline lactose.


  1. Measurement of lactose crystallinity using Raman spectroscopy. BM Murphy, SW Prescott and I Larson. Journal of Pharmaceutical and Biomedical Analysis, 38(1), 186–190, 2005.

Last edited: Tuesday September 9, 2008

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