Nanoscale mid-infrared evaluation of the miscibility behavior of blends of dextran or maltodextrin with poly(vinylpyrrolidone).
ABSTRACT Determining the extent of miscibility of amorphous components is of great importance for certain pharmaceutical systems, in particular for polymer-polymer and polymer-small molecule blends. In this study, the application of standard atomic force microscopy (AFM) measurements combined with nanoscale mid-infrared (mid-IR) spectroscopy was explored to evaluate miscibility in binary polymer blends. The miscibility characteristics of a set of 50/50 (w/w) polymer blends comprising of poly(vinylpyrrolidone) (PVP) with dextran or maltodextrin (DEX) of varying molecular weights (MWs) were investigated. Standard AFM characterization results show good agreement with inferences drawn from differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) analysis in terms of forming either single or two phase systems. AFM analysis also provided insight into the microstructure of the two phase systems and how domain sizes varied as a function of polymer MWs. Nanoscale mid-IR evaluation of the blends, performed by collecting local mid-IR spectra or spectral maps, provided an extra dimension of information about the dependence of polymer MWs on chemical composition of the different phases. AFM, combined with nanoscale mid-infrared analysis, thus appears to be a promising technique for the evaluation of miscibility in certain pharmaceutical blends.