Scattering - SAXS and WAXS

Often called Non-crystalline diffraction (NCD), Small Angle X-ray Scattering provides essential information on the structure and dynamics of large molecular assemblies in low ordered environments. These are characteristic of living organisms and many complex materials such as polymers and colloids.

Small angle scattering covers the angular range up to 1° while WAXS typically covers 5 - 60°.

Anomalous SAXS (ASAXS) takes advantage of the tuneable nature of synchrotron X-rays, using X-rays with energies close to the absorption edges of the element under study. This provides information on the specific composition and density fluctuation of the sample.

Benefits of Synchrotron Techniques

The capability of investigating materials under extreme environments and the ability to mimic industrial processes (e.g. high pressure, temperature, and or rheology), whilst simultaneously recording X-ray measurements in both small and wide angle X-ray scattering opens up new avenues for addressing questions regarding phase-space identification and the relationship between microscopic structure and macroscopic properties.

In addition the high intensity of synchrotron X-rays allows the study of very dilute samples, where the element under investigation makes up less than one millionth of the sample volume.


Scattering has a wide range of applications including: studies of supramolecular organisation in biological systems, structure and function of muscle filaments, corneal transparency, biological membranes, polymer processing and rational polymer design, self-assembly of mesoscopic metal particles, colloids, liquid crystals and devices.

Diamond Light Source

Diamond Light Source is the UK's national synchrotron science facility, located at the Harwell Science and Innovation Campus in Oxfordshire.

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