Orientation analysis

Looking at how and to what extent the scatterers are oriented

What is measured?

The information obtained here is the orientation of a scattering structure, such as crystalline lamellae or fiber axis with regards to a sample plane of reference (or machine direction for processed samples). Orientation parameters are extracted from the azimuthal distribution of intensities of a specific Bragg peak. In the case of a tensor approach method extracted parameters are the mean orientation angle and the degree of orientation obtained.

Orientation analysis
Figure 1. Azimuthal profile of the Q = 0.27 nm-1  Bragg reflection of a high density polyethylene. The mean orientation is found at 39.9° for a rate of 17% oriented scatterers.

Alternatively, Herman’s orientation factor, which is a moment of the complete orientation distribution function, can be calculated to access the orientation of the scattering plane.



Typical samples for this measurement are:

  • Textured materials

  • Nanostructured materials

  • Semi-crystalline polymers

  • Fibers

Methods & standards

Standards & methods used for tensor approach:

  • David K. Cinader, Wesley R. Burghardt, “X-ray scattering studies of orientation in channel flows of a lyotropic liquid crystalline polymer”, Polymer, Volume 40, Issue 15, 1999, p. 4169-4180

Standards & methods used for Herman’s Orientation Factor:

  • J.J. Hermans, P.H. Hermans, D. Vermaas, A. Weidinger, Quantitative evaluation of orientation in cellulose fibers from the X-ray fiber diagram, Recl. Trav. Chim. Pays- Bas 65 (1946) 427–447.

XSACT analysis software implements the above methods.

SAXS Data Analysis

Advantages of SAXS

Why use SAXS or WAXS for nanostructure or molecular orientation analyses ?

  • SAXS or WAXS are non-invasive measurements

  • SAXS or WAXS can measure in opaque sample environments or probe all the volume within the X-ray beam

  • One can conduct dynamic studies in order to probe changes in orientation (direction and degree) induced by temperature and strain


All these measurements are possible directly in your lab.


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Orientation Analysis

Orientation Analysis Using Small And Wide Angle X-Ray Scattering

Orientation Analysis – Looking At How And To What Extent The Scatterers Are Oriented. Learn On SAXS And WAXS Characterization