Direct measurement of molecular mobility and crystallisation of amorphous pharmaceuticals using terahertz spectroscopy.
For the case of paracetamol, we show how terahertz time-domain spectroscopy can be used to characterize the solid and liquid phase dynamics. Heating of supercooled amorphous paracetamol from 295 K in a covered sample under vacuum leads to its crystallization at 330 K. First, form III is formed followed by the transformation of form III to form II at 375 K, to form I at 405 K, and finally melting is observed around 455 K. We discuss the difference between the featureless spectra of the supercooled liquid and its liquid melt. Lastly, we studied the onset of crystallization from the supercooled liquid in detail and quantified its kinetics based on the Avrami-Erofeev model. We determined an effective rate constant of k = 0.056 min(-1) with a corresponding onset of crystallization at T = 329.5 K for a heating rate of 0.4 K min(-1).