Quantifying drug dissolution using a quartz crystal microbalance

Document Type


Conference Title

Pacific Undergraduate Research and Creativity Conference


University of the Pacific


Stockton, CA

Date of Presentation



Our research team is developing a novel method to measure drug dissolution using a Quartz Crystal Microbalance (QCM). The dissolution rate of a drug is one of the many important characteristics that are carefully measured in the development of new drugs. It one of the many factors that allows us to fully understand the function of a drug and is indicative to the duration that the drug lasts. There are several current apparatuses that are used to measure drug dissolution, however most require test samples to the order of several milligrams per sample. This is even more of a problem when dealing with new drugs under development that are more difficult to extract or expensive to produce. Since each drug is tested through numerous samples and trials, there is a relatively high amount of waste. Our approach will allow users to directly measure mass changes of the drug sample over a continuous duration. Such method will effectively reduce sample size to an order of several micrograms, and possibly onto the nanogram scale. The drug sample is applied onto the quartz crystal as a thin film and then inserted into the QCM. The QCM uses a resonator that vibrates the quartz crystal and applied sample to their resonant frequency. As the sample dissolves in the solvent (under flow in an attached flow cell), the QCM resonator automatically adjusts the frequency accordingly and the mass loss is recorded. This mass loss signature will characterize the dissolution of the drug.

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