SAXS is a universal technique applicable to a broad range of particle sizes, from small peptides to huge macromolecular machines with molecular weight from about 5 kDa up to 100 MDa. 

With the brilliant synchrotron sources, robotic sample changers and novel approaches to reconstruct 3D models, SAXS became a major tool to rapidly and comprehensively characterize macromolecular and nanostructured systems.

The main principles of SAXS were developed in the late 1930s by A. Guinier with his studies of metallic alloys. Already in the first monograph on SAXS by Guinier and Fournet (1955) it was demonstrated that the method yields not just information on the sizes and shapes of particles but also on the internal structure of disordered and partially ordered systems.

Conceptually, a SAXS experiment is simple: a sample is illuminated by X-rays and the scatteried radiation is registered by a detector. As the SAXS measurements are done very close to the primary beam ("small angles"), the technique profits immensely from the brilliance of X-ray photon beams provided by particle accelerators known as synchrotrons.

SAXS laboratory equipment

For laboratory SAXS analysis, the SAXS instrument comprises a next-generation SAXS instrument using advanced networked instrument control and data analysis. The instrument is fully automated and remotely controllable with capability of performing SAXS, MAXS, WAXS, GISAXS and Reflectometry on both isotropic and oriented samples.

The SAXS instrument is used for structural studies of materials of various kinds, including polymer systems, platinum based membranes for fuel cells, gels for replacing human intraocular lens, butter and cheese, and bio-membranes and protein structure in solution.