Date Available


Year of Publication


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type





Pharmaceutical Sciences

First Advisor

Dr. Tonglei Li


The vast majority of pharmaceutical drug products are developed, manufactured, and delivered in the solid-state where the active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) is crystalline. With the potential to exist as polymorphs, salts, hydrates, solvates, and cocrystals, each with their own unique associated physicochemical properties, crystals and their forms directly influence bioavailability and manufacturability of the final drug product. Understanding and controlling the crystalline form of the API throughout the drug development process is absolutely critical. Interfacial properties, such as surface energy, define the interactions between two materials in contact. For crystal growth, surface energy between crystal surfaces and liquid environments not only determines the growth kinetics and morphology, but also plays a substantial role in controlling the development of the internal structure. Surface energy also influences the macroscopic particle interactions and mechanical behaviors that govern particle flow, blending, compression, and compaction. While conventional methods for surface energy measurements, such as contact angle and inverse gas chromatography, are increasingly employed, their limitations have necessitated the exploration of alternative tools. For that reason, the first goal of this research was to serve as an analytical method development report for atomic force microscopy and determine its viability as an alternative approach to standard methods of analysis. The second goal of this research was to assess whether the physical and the mathematical models developed on the reference surfaces such as mica or graphite could be extended to organic crystal surfaces. This dissertation, while dependent upon the requisite number of mathematical assumptions, tightly controlled experiments, and environmental conditions, will nonetheless help to bridge the division between lab-bench theory and successful industrial implementation. In current practice, much of pharmaceutical formulation development relies on trial and error and/or duplication of historical methods. With a firm fundamental understanding of surface energetics, pharmaceutical scientists will be armed with the knowledge required to more effectively estimate, predict, and control the physical behaviors of their final drug products.



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