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    The nucleation mechanism of crystals of small organic molecules, postulated based on computer simulations, still lacks experimental evidence. In this study we designed an experimental approach to monitor the early stages of the crystallization of ibuprofen as a model system for small organic molecules. Ibuprofen undergoes liquid-liquid phase separation prior to nucleation. The binodal and spinodal limits of the corresponding liquid-liquid miscibility gap were analyzed and confirmed. An increase in viscosity sustains the kinetic stability of the dense liquid intermediate. Since the distances between ibuprofen molecules within the dense liquid phase are similar to those in the crystal forms, this dense liquid phase is identified as a precursor phase in the nucleation of ibuprofen, in which densification is followed by generation of structural order. This discovery may make it possible to enrich poorly soluble pharmaceuticals beyond classical solubility limitations in aqueous environments. © 2019 The Authors. Published by Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA.

    Citation

    Eduard Wiedenbeck, Michael Kovermann, Denis Gebauer, Helmut Cölfen. Liquid Metastable Precursors of Ibuprofen as Aqueous Nucleation Intermediates. Angewandte Chemie (International ed. in English). 2019 Dec 19;58(52):19103-19109

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    PMID: 31556970

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