Micro-thermal analysis is a recently introduced thermoanalytical technique that combines the principles of scanning probe microscopy with thermal analysis via replacement of the probe tip with a thermistor. This allows samples to be spatially scanned in terms of both topography and thermal conductivity, whereby placing the probe on a specific region of a sample and heating, it is possible to perform localized thermal analysis experiments on those regions. In this minireview, the principles of the technique are outlined and the current uses within the polymer sciences described. Current pharmaceutical applications are then discussed; these include the identification of components in compressed tablets, the characterization of drug-loaded polylactic acid microspheres, the analysis of tablet coats, and the identification of amorphous and crystalline regions in semicrystalline samples. The current strengths and weaknesses of the technique are outlined, along with a discussion of the future directions in which the approach may be taken.
- hydroxypropyl methylcellulose
- atomic force microscopy
- tablet coat
- micro-thermal analysis