Analytical chemistry

Selective detection and quantitation of organic molecule crystallization by second harmonic generation microscopy.

PMID 20515064


Second order nonlinear optical imaging of chiral crystals (SONICC) was applied to selectively detect crystal formation at early stages and characterize the kinetics of nucleation and growth. SONICC relies on second harmonic generation (SHG), a nonlinear optical effect that only arises from noncentosymmetric ordered domain structures, which include crystals of chiral molecules. The model systems studied include pharmaceutically relevant compounds: griseofulvin and chlorpropamide. SONICC demonstrates low detection limits producing an 8 order of magnitude improvement relative to macroscopic average techniques and 5 order of magnitude improvement relative to optical microscopy. SONICC was also applied to examine the kinetics of crystallization in amorphous griseofulvin. The results show that SONICC enables simultaneous monitoring of individual crystal growth, nucleation rate, and macroscopic crystallization kinetics.