Aerosolized drug delivery methods have increasingly become popular for pharmaceutical applications. This is mainly due to their ease of application and the more recent advancements incorporating nano-sized generation of particles that find deeper penetration routes and more efficient administration of the drug to specific target organs. Their effectiveness heavily relies on the uniformity of the chemical composition of these aerosolized drugs. Thus, it calls for a real-time on-line analytical tool that can accurately characterize the chemical constituents of the drug powder particles generated to ensure a stringent quality control. We present laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy (LIBS) for the first time as an efficient analytical tool to carry out on-line quantitative chemical characterization of aerosolized drugs. We used three different carbon based aerosolized drugs, namely L-ascorbic acid 2-phosphate sesquimagnesium salt hydrate (C<sub>6</sub>H<sub>9</sub>Mg<sub>1.5</sub>O<sub>9</sub>P·xH<sub>2</sub>O), Iron(II) L-ascorbate (C<sub>12</sub>H<sub>14</sub>FeO<sub>12</sub>), and DL-pantothenic acid hemicalcium salt (C<sub>9</sub>H<sub>16</sub>NO<sub>5</sub>0.5Ca) for our quantitative LIBS studies here. Our results show that LIBS can effectively estimate the quantitative ratios of carbon to various trace elements for each of these drugs, thereby enabling on-line unique characterization of individual aerosolized drugs. The quantitative LIBS technique predicted the [C]/[Mg], [C]/[Fe], and [C]/[Ca] ratios as 4.02 ± 0.76, 12.42 ± 2.36, and 18.47 ± 4.39 for each of the above aerosolized drugs, respectively. Within error limits, we find these ratios in good agreement with the respective stoichiometric values of 4, 12, and 18 corresponding to the drugs above. Thus, the work demonstrated the utility and validity of LIBS in accurate on-line identification of drug powders during real-time manufacturing processes.

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