Small Angle X-ray Scattering has become a well known standard method to study the structure of various objects in the spatial range from 1 to 1000 nm, and therefore instruments capable to perform such experiments are installed at most of the synchrotron research centers.
The highflux SAXS beamline at Elettra has been built by the Institute of Biophysics and Nanosystems Research (IBN), Austrian Academy of Sciences, and is now in user operation since September 1996. The beamline was mainly intended for time-resolved studies on fast structural transitions in the sub-millisecond time region in solutions and partly ordered systems with a SAXS-resolution of 1 to 140 nm in real-space. But increasingly also grazing incidence (GISAXS) measurements are performed to study self-assembly processes on surfaces, or to perform structural characterizations of thin films.
The photon source is the 57-pole wiggler whose beam is shared and used simultaneously with a Macromolecular Crystallography beamline. From the very intense wiggler radiation, the SAXS Beamline accepts 3 discrete energies, namely 5.4, 8 and 16 keV (0.077, 0.154, 0.23 nm). The beamline optics consists of a flat, asymmetric-cut double crystal monochromator and a double focusing toroidal mirror.
A versatile SAXS experimental station has been set-up, and an additional wide-angle X-ray scattering (WAXS) detector can monitor simultaneously diffraction patterns. The sample station is mounted movable onto an optical table for optimising the sample detector distance with respect to SAXS resolution and sample size. Besides the foreseen sample surrounding, users have the possibility to install their own specialised sample equipment. In the design phase, besides technical boundary conditions, user friendliness and reliability have been considered as important criteria.
In conclusion, due to the highly variable kept sample stage, there are nearly no limits for the realization of an experiment, and you are welcome by our team to propose any interesting and high-lighting investigation for the benefit of material and life sciences.