Inspect nano-scale materials for shape and structure
Small-angle X-ray scattering (SAXS) is a small-angle scattering technique by which nano-scale density differences in a sample can be quantified. This means that it can determine nano-particle size distributions, resolve the size and shape of (mono-disperse) macro-molecules, determine pore sizes, characteristic distances of partially ordered materials, and much more. This is achieved by analyzing the elastic scattering behavior of X-rays when traveling through the material, recording their scattering at small angles (typically 0.1 - 10°). SAXS is used for the determination of the microscale or nanoscale structure of particle systems in terms of such parameters as averaged particle sizes, shapes, distribution, and surface-to-volume ratio. The materials can be solid or liquid and they can contain solid, liquid or gaseous domains (so-called particles) of the same or another material in any combination. Not only particles, but also the structure of ordered systems like lamellae, and fractal-like materials can be studied. The method is accurate, non-destructive and usually requires only a minimum of sample preparation. Applications are very broad and include colloids of all types, metals, cement, oil, polymers, plastics, proteins, foods and pharmaceuticals and can be found in research as well as in quality control.