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Revealing the Hidden Details of Nanostructure in a Pharmaceutical Cream

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

David Barlow, Margaret Lawrence, Fabrizia Foglia, James Doutch, R Heenan, Delaram Ahmadi, Peixun Li, Najet Mahmoudi, Kun Ma

Original languageEnglish
Article number4082
Number of pages12
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
Early online date5 Mar 2020
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 5 Mar 2020


King's Authors


Creams are multi-component semi-solid emulsions that find widespread utility across a wide range of pharmaceutical, cosmetic, and personal care products, and they also feature prominently in veterinary preparations and processed foodstuffs. The internal architectures of these systems, however, have to
date been inferred largely through macroscopic and/or indirect experimental observations and so they are not well-characterized at the molecular level. Moreover, while their long-term stability and shelflife, and their aesthetics and functional utility are critically dependent upon their molecular structure,
there is no real understanding yet of the structural mechanisms that underlie the potential destabilizing effects of additives like drugs, anti-oxidants or preservatives, and no structure-based rationale to guide product formulation. In the research reported here we sought to address these deficiencies, making
particular use of small-angle neutron scattering and exploiting the device of H/D contrast variation, with complementary studies also performed using bright-field and polarised light microscopy, small-angle and wide-angle X-ray scattering, and steady-state shear rheology measurements. Through
the convolved findings from these studies we have secured a finely detailed picture of the molecular structure of creams based on Aqueous Cream BP, and our findings reveal that the structure is quite different from the generic picture of cream structure that is widely accepted and reproduced in textbooks.

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