At the molecular level, pharmaceutical structures fall into one of two categories: amorphous or crystalline. Amorphous drugs typically are more efficiently taken up by the body than their crystalline cousins; this is because amorphous drugs are both more highly soluble and have a higher bioavailability, suggesting that a lower dose can produce the desired effect.
One of the biggest challenges when it comes to drug development is in reducing the amount of the drug needed to attain the therapeutic benefit. Most drugs on the market are crystalline; they don't get fully absorbed by the body and thus we don't get the most efficient use out of them.
Getting pharmaceuticals from solution into an amorphous state, however, is no easy task. If the solution evaporates while it is in contact with part of a vessel, it is far more likely to solidify in its crystalline form. It's almost as if these substances want to find a way to become crystalline.
In order to avoid this problem, a way to evaporate a solution without it touching anything was required. Because liquids conform to the shape of their containers, this was a nearly impossible requirement; so difficult, in fact, that an acoustic levitator, a piece of equipment originally developed for NASA to simulate microgravity conditions, had to be used.
Levitation or "containerless processing" can form pristine samples that can be probed in situ with a high-energy X-ray beam. This allows amorphisation of the drug to be studied while it is being processed.