Characterization with Small Angle X-ray Scattering

Discover some of the measurements you can do with Small Angle X-ray Scattering (SAXS) and Wide Angle X-Ray Scattering (WAXS)

Small Angle X-ray Scattering is a characterization technique enabling to study the size and shape of materials at the nanoscale. Typical range of observations with SAXS is from a few nanometers to 250 nm. With Wide Angle X-ray Scattering (WAXS) you get information on the crystalline structure of your sample at the atomic level. Grazing-Incidence SAXS and Grazing-Incidence WAXS (GI-SAXS/ GI-WAXS)  enable you to analyze the structure of thin films or to collect information from surface layers.

Small angle x-ray scattering and its related techniques are used in many research fields, for all types of samples, such as solutions, gels, powders or solids.

You will find below a selection of measurements and information you can get with small angle x-ray scattering and its related techniques.

For each of the measurements, an explanation of what is measured is presented, with a list of typical samples. You will also find some methods and standards used as well as a summary of the advantages of using small angle x-ray scattering for each specific measurement.


Particle size and size distribution
Molecular weight
Pore-size and pore-size distribution


Lamellar structure
Crystalline fraction
Phase identification
Orientation analysis


Particle or macromolecular shape


Surface structure and patterns


Specific surface

Dynamic analysis

Temperature influence on structure
Humidity influence on structure
Tensile influence on structure
Shear influence on structure

More on Small Angle X-ray Scattering

In standard measuring configuration, the incoming X-ray beam is transmitted through a sample, with an exposed volume in the order of one mm3. The scattered X-rays are collected on a detector and the scattering pattern is analyzed to determine the global structural information of the sample.  

With Grazing Incidence measuring configuration, the X-ray beam hits the sample with grazing incidence, enabling you to analyze the structure of thin films, or to collect information from surface layers only. The related techniques are Grazing-incidence SAXS and Grazing-incidence WAXS (GI-SAXS/ GI-WAXS) depending on the length scales of the structural parameter to be probed. 

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