Radionuclide Production Department Infrastructure Upgrades

Over the past year the Department installed, commissioned and trained staff on the PinAAcle 900Z Series Atomic Absorption Spectrometer (AA) and the Optima 8300 Inductively Coupled Plasma Spectrometer (ICP). This state-of-the-art equipment is used in the quality control (metal analysis) of the radiopharmaceuticals which gives us the capabilities to perform a specific metal ion detection limit of less 0.01 µg/L in analysis volumes of 1-10 μL with the AA and 0.1 – 100 µg/L in larger analysis volumes (ml) with the ICP, in other words detecting metals in samples at very low levels of 10-6 to 10-9 grams. The completion of this project formed part of the continuous maintenance and upgrade plan of the facility to ensure Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) compliance.


Inductively Coupled PLASMA Spectrometer (ICP)

Atomic Absorption Spectrometer (AA)


The second two weekends in September were very successful at the AFRODITE facility with the Investigation of the Classic Shape-coexistence and Transitional Nuclei of 148Sm and 150Gd by researchers at the

University of the Western Cape (JF Sharpey-Shafer) and University of Zululand (S Ntshangase) This continues the systematic study of the region of Segrè chart where many of the spins and parities states remain uncertain. The AFRODITE facility, recently upgraded to include the new fast-timing array, was used to detect the gamma-rays from the nuclear states and to reveal more about the structure of these nuclei.

New Data Acquisition System at the 6mv Tandem Accelerator

Light heavy-ion coincidence scattering experiments on the “C” line at the iThemba LABS AMS Department in Gauteng have just received a considerable shot-in-the-arm due to the implementation of  a new CAMAC-based data acquisition (DAQ) system.  The system is controlled by the ROOT and MIDAS software on a Linux platform developed by iThemba LABS staff. This new DAQ will service the needs for ongoing basic nuclear physics experimentation on the Tandem C-line in the years to come.

One of the top AMS experts worldwide will visit the AMS Department in October, namely Professor Keith Fifield, from the Australian National University (ANU).

Applied Radiation Biology Training

Postgraduates from the Centre of Applied Radiation Sciences & Technologies (CARST) of the MMabatho campus of North West University spent 18-22 September 2017 at iThemba LABS for training in applied radiation biology.

The 11 postgraduates received lectures and did practical work to assess cellular radiation damage using cytogenetic methods. They also participated in an experiment with DNA uptake of 123-I labelled deoxyuridine – a compound used to study the biological damage of very short range Auger electrons.

They also participated in an experiment with DNA uptake of 123-I labelled deoxyuridine – a compound used to study the biological damage of very short range Auger electrons.

The Innovation Technology Event

iThemba LABS will be exhibiting at The Innovation Technology Matchmaking and Showcasing Event, an initiative of the Department of Science and Technology (DST) that is aimed at enabling linkages and networking between South African and international innovators, industry and public and private technology development and commercialisation funding partners.  It is taking place on 15 September at Gallagher Convention Centre.

30 Year Celebrations

A formal event celebrating 30 Years of Operation of the SSC is being planned for 13 October.  The Honourable Minister Ms Naledi Pandor will attend.   Staff members will be able to watch live streaming of the formal programme.  A mini-conference will also be held to celebrate the achievements of the SSC.

National Science Week activities

National Science Week (NSW) is an initiative of the Department of Science and Technology (DST) which is a countrywide celebration of science involving various stakeholders and/or role players conducting science-based activities during the week.  iThemba LABS participated in the following ways:

Career sessions and hands on workshops were held both onsite and offsite for high school learners. Staff members made presentations on career opportunities.

Post Graduate students from iThemba LABS visited shopping malls in Khayelitsha, Eerste River and Blue Downs, interacting with the general public while also handing out information pamphlets about iThemba LABS.

Physics students from the Universities of the Western Cape and Stellenbosch visited iThemba LABS to expose them to research and career development opportunities.