• Jul 23, 2021 . 2 min Read
  • Makerere acquires state-of-the-art Nanotechnology microscope

Vapour Pressure Sigma 300 High-Resolution Scanning Electron Microscope
Chris Kiwawulo
Journalist @New Vision

Makerere University has acquired a state-of-the-art high-resolution microscope, which will spur research in Nanotechnology and vaccines in Uganda.

The University Vice-Chancellor, Prof Barnabas Nawangwe, said this is the first-ever Vapour Pressure Sigma 300 High-Resolution Scanning Electron Microscope in the East and Central African region.

“We inaugurated the first-ever Vapour Pressure Sigma 300 High-Resolution Scanning Electron Microscope in East and Central African region. I thank the Government for this investment which will spur research in Nanotechnology, including medicines, minerals, life sciences and others,” Nawangwe said in a tweet on Thursday.

President Yoweri Museveni injected sh37b to expeditiously procure the microscope to speed up research on COVID-19.

The microscope will be used at the Africa Center of Excellence in Materials Product Development and Nanotechnology (MAPRONANO ACE) under the College of Engineering, Design, Art and Technology (CEDAT).

MAPRONANO ACE was developed out of the need to strengthen research and training in the thematic areas of materials science and engineering, nanotechnology and nanomedicine to develop human resource capacity in applied science engineering disciplines for the development of the great lakes region.

The Microscope use

According to a statement from CEDAT, the VP Sigma 300 Scanning Electron Microscope will be used for nanomaterial’s characterization, materials sciences research and all Nano scale related fields.

“This is the first of its kind equipment in Sub-Saharan Africa for nanotechnology research. The VP Sigma 300 Scanning Electron Microscopy will be used by the faculty at the Department of Mechanical Engineering and College of Health Sciences and other University colleges,” the statement said.

It added that the microscope will be used for: minerals identification, size measurements of micron and nanosized materials, determining the morphology of biological specimens (structural biology), nanoparticle analysis and detection, drug research (testing new vaccines and medicines).

It will also be used for drug discovery and identification of new pathogens (viruses, bacteria and fungi), tissue imaging such as cancer imaging, device testing and characterisation, pharmaceutical quality control, forensic science, and toxins identification.

The microscope will also help in determining the crystallographic structure of specimens (topology, morphology and composition), materials science research, detection/elemental analysis and cathodoluminescence microscopy (CL), quality control and failure analysis, as well as a reliable performance of semiconductors.

Who will use it?

The microscope will be used by over 10 institutions that are both private and public, including ministries.

Some of the agencies that require the services of the new microscope are; Uganda Police, the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development, the Uganda Cancer Institute, and the Uganda Virus Research Institute.

Others are; National Drug Authority, Uganda National Bureau of Standards, Luwero Industries, Roofings Limited, Mulago National Referral hospital, Cipla Pharmaceuticals, and the Steel and Tube Industry. 

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