Small-Angle X-ray Scattering (SAXS)

This instrument is used to characterize materials in terms of internal dimensions that are roughly 50 to 500 times the size of a chemical bond (Ångstrom scale) by means of X-Ray scattering. This is the typical size range described as “Nanotechnol-ogy.” The instrument also has an image plate detector, which makes it possible to measure wide-angle X-ray diffraction (WAXS) at the same time as SAXS is meas-ured (“simultaneous SAXS/WAXS”).

SAXS is used for characterizing biological macromolecules such as proteins in solu-tion.  It is also used to characterize a range of other materials including: polymers, macro-porous materials, bone, graphene, etc.  

The instrument is equipped with:

  • Thermoelectric (“Peltier”) temperature controlled sample holder (-20 C to + 120 C).
  • Tilt stage and special beam-stop for grazing-incidence SAXS (GI-SAXS).
  • “Stretch” stage that allows a polymer sample, for example, to be stretched, in situ, along one axis, perpendicular to the beam.

Approximate measurement ranges for detectors using standard (“high flux”) pin-holes:

  Detector q-range (reciprocal Å) d-spacing (Å)

Bruker HiStar
105 cm from sample (standard position)

0.014 to 0.2 30-440

Bruker HiStar
65 cm from sample

0.02 to 0.34 18.5-300
WAXS Fuji Image Plate 0.2 to 5 1.25-30
Manufacturer: Bruker

Some instrument specifications

The x-ray source is a rotating anode with a copper target and 0.1 x 1.0 mm spot focus filaments, operated at 50 kV and 24 mA.  The x-ray beam is focused to a point by means of a Montel optic and collimated by an assembly of three pinholes. In the standard “high flux” configuration these are: (1) 0.75 mm diameter (2) beam defining 0.4 mm diameter (3) 1.0 mm, with spacing (1-to-2) 925 mm (2-to-3) 485 mm. The beam path from the first pinhole to the detector, including the sample space, is under vacuum (approx. 0.1 millibar).  The matching beam-stop is 4.31 mm diameter.  A set of “high resolution” pinholes is available: (1) 0.5 mm di-ameter (2) beam defining 0.15 mm diameter (3) 0.5 mm. They are installed at the same positions in the beam path as the “high flux” pinholes (above). The corre-sponding beam-stop is approx. 0.3 mm in diameter.  

The SAXS detector is a multi-wire proportional counter (Bruker Hi-Star) with 1024 x 1024 pixels and a beryllium front window 11.5 cm across.  The detector can be placed approximately 105 cm or 65 cm from the sample, allowing measurement of scattering angles from ca. 0.2 to 2.8 degrees (2-theta) or 0.2 to 4.8 degrees, re-spectively. Assuming a wavelength that is a weighted average of Cu-Kalpha1 and Cu-Kalpha2, this corresponds to q ranges in reciprocal Angstroms of approx. 0.14 to 0.2 or 0.14 to 0.34. Flood-field and spatial calibrations use an 55Fe source, dis-tance and centering calibration use x-ray scattering from silver behenate.

The WAXS detector is an image plate (Fuji FLA-7000 system) approximately 20 x 25 cm in size. To allow simultaneous SAXS/WAXs measurements, the image plate has a central hole that allows scattered radiation to pass through, filling the SAXS detector (at the 105 cm distance).  Distance and centering calibrations for the im-age plate use x-ray scattering from corundum (Al2O3).

Equipment Rates & Fees
 RPI UsersExternal NonprofitExternal IndustryExternal Industry Partners
 RPI UsersExternal NonprofitExternal IndustryExternal Industry Partners
Personnel Time$70$115$230$207

Valid through July 31, 2024. Rates are hourly unless specified otherwise and are subject to change without further notice.

Required Acknowledgement and Authorship

Please acknowledge the CBIS Core Facilities in all publications and grant applications where our equipment and/or personnel have facilitated the work. These acknowledgements are very important because documenting our contributions helps to ensure that the resources of the Core Facilities are sustainable.

  • Equipment: If you used Core Facility equipment, please note this in the Materials and Methods. e.g., Thermogravimetric analysis was carried out using a TA Instruments TGA-Q50 (Rensselaer CBIS Analytical Biochemistry Core Facility).
  • Personnel: Please consider including CBIS personnel as co-authors on your publications when they have made a significant intellectual contribution to the research. Include CBIS Core Facility directors or staff as co-PI or co-investigators in grant applications when they provide a significant contribution to the grant proposal and scientific/intellectual leadership for the proposed work. Please follow these guidelines: ABRF Recommended Guidelines for Authorship on Manuscripts. Also, our Core Facility personnel always appreciate when they are mentioned in the Acknowledgements section of publications.
  • Required Funding Authorization Form: Rensselaer researchers must fill out the CBIS Cores Authorization Form (PDF) to use the CBIS Core Facilities.
Back to top