SEM Imaging of Drug Encapsulation

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Equipment used:

VEGA3 LM

A fully PC controlled SEM with conventional tungsten heated cathode intended for both - for high vacuum as well as for low vacuum operations.

TESCAN USA

SEM Imaging of Drug Encapsulation

Microcapsules containing a drug, tramadol hydrochloride, were formed by a solvent evaporation method. Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) revealed that the microcapsules, prepared under various experimental conditions, differ in the size and porosity of the encapsulating material, which can affect drug release in an organism. Microencapsulated drugs are expected to be widely used in medical treatment. The high quality SEM VEGA3, with a tungsten heated filament, proved to be very useful in this field. Its unique Wide Field OpticsTM provides a variety of working and displaying modes. It allows imaging with the highest possible resolution, great depth of focus.

Microcapsules are primarily used in forms of drug delivery with controlled release and drug targeting. The reasons for their wide implementation in pharmacotherapy are their indisputable therapeutic benefits, such as reducing adverse sideeffects, increasing pharmacotherapeutic efficiency and controlled drug release. The microcapsules are evaluated according to the following parameters: encapsulating efficiency, morphology, and the dissolution test. The surface texture is also monitored, which is important for evaluating the compactness of the prepared microcapsules as well as detecting the presence of pores, cracks and irregularities. All of these properties have a significant impact on drug release from the prepared dosage microforms.

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Conclusion

The VEGA3 scanning electron microscope with a heated tungsten cathode proved to be a valuable tool for examining encapsulated pharmaceuticals. Imaging in high-resolution mode provided a lot of useful information about the structure of the encapsulating material.  The microcapsules were also observed using depth mode, which enabled the whole of the particles to be in focus at the same time. The compactness and porosity of the encapsulating material, prepared under various conditions, could then be easily compared and  evaluated. 

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