USAXS: Ultra Small Angle X-ray Scattering Resolving µm-sized particles on the Anton Paar SAXSpoint 5.0 system

Microparticles are used in a wide range of applications and USAXS is the perfect technique to study the shape and structural properties of microparticles. Up to now such studies were mainly carried out at synchrotron stations which limits the availability of this method. Because of that, Anton Paar has developed a Bonse-Hart USAXS module to bring USAXS also to the home laboratory and increase the availability of this rewarding technique.


Nanostructured materials of all kinds play a crucial role in modern materials. However, such system often co-exist with larger structures (e. g., agglomerates composed from nanoscale building blocks) and analyzing either only the nano- or the micrometer scale does not fully characterize a sample. Small-angle
X-ray scattering (SAXS) is one of the standard methods for the characterization of nanostructured materials, due to its wide applicability and the possibility to do in situ measurements. However, “classic” small-angle scattering is limited to a maximum size range of about 300 nm (depending on instrument resolution), limiting SAXS when it comes to systems that stretch of a large size range. USAXS (ultra-small angle X-ray scattering) can extend the accessible size range of an X-ray scattering experiment into the micrometer regime by making extremely small scattering angles measurable. This way, both the micrometer and the nanometer scale can be measured in a single setup, making SAXS one of the most versatile characterization methods for nanoparticle analysis.

In this application report we show USAXS measurements on Silica microparticles as a proof-of-concept for this method. Silica microparticles are studied as model systems, e. g., for metals and binary alloys. With these systems short-range order in the fluid state and its solidification into long-range order colloidal crystals can be studied.1 Furthermore, microparticles are also studied in the field of polymeric biocatalysis,2 food science,3 and energy storage materials.4 Concrete samples studied in these areas are:

  • catalysts
  • viruses and bacteria
  • highly aggregated samples
  • biomembranes and
  • supramolecular arrangements for structural studies with X-ray scattering.


1.   The Journal of Chemical Physics 141, 214906 (2014)
2.   Catalysts 2021, 11(6), 730
3.   Food Research International 129, 108846 (2020)
4.   Applied Energy 299, 117315 (2021)

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