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Small-angle X-ray and neutron scattering

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  • Cy M. Jeffries, European Molecular Biology Laboratory
  • ,
  • Jan Ilavsky, APS, Argonne National Laboratory
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  • Anne Martel, Institute Max von Laue-Paul Langevin
  • ,
  • Stephan Hindrichs, University of Hamburg
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  • Andreas Meyer, University of Hamburg
  • ,
  • Jan Skov Pedersen
  • Anna V. Sokolova, Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO)
  • ,
  • Dmitri I Svergun, European Molecular Biology Laboratory, Germany

Small-angle scattering (SAS) is a technique that is able to probe the structural organization of matter and quantify its response to changes in external conditions. X-ray and neutron scattering profiles measured from bulk materials or materials deposited at surfaces arise from nanostructural inhomogeneities of electron or nuclear density. The analysis of SAS data from coherent scattering events provides information about the length scale distributions of material components. Samples for SAS studies may be prepared in situ or under near-native conditions and the measurements performed at various temperatures, pressures, flows, shears or stresses, and in a time-resolved fashion. In this Primer, we provide an overview of SAS, summarizing the types of instrument used, approaches for data collection and calibration, available data analysis methods, structural information that can be obtained using the method, and data depositories, standards and formats. Recent applications of SAS in structural biology and the soft-matter and hard-matter sciences are also discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Article number70
JournalNature Reviews Methods Primers
Number of pages39
Publication statusPublished - 12 Oct 2021

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