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The NXUS project utilizes the technique small-angle scattering to characterize the samples provided by the collaborators.
About small-angle scattering
Small-angle scattering provides information from the nanometer regime to the micrometer regime of particles in solution. This can be applied to a wide range of samples as fx. conformations of proteins, protein complexes, polymers, emulsions, colloids and nanoparticles. Depending on the samples, either small-angle X-ray scattering (SAXS) or small-angle neutron based scattering (SANS) can be used.
The figure demonstrates the principle behind small-angle scattering. A beam of X-rays or neutrons enters the experimental setup in the lower right corner. It is then collimated and directed onto the sample of interest. The beam is subsequently scattered on the sample and the scattering is recorded on an area detector.
The resulting data is integrated over the detector and usually presented as a plot of scattering angle vs. scattering intensity, as demonstrated in the upper right of the figure above. From this scattering pattern, information regarding the shape, size, flexibility and interactions of particles can be extracted.