Surface structure and patterns

Looking at the order and texture in the sample surface

What is measured?

One measures the long range order parameters of a nano-structured surface (GISAXS) or its atomic scale structure (GIWAXS).

The 2D scattering data gives an indication of the presence of such ordering while 1D data plotting along a given direction can give information about structure characteristic dimensions or orientation.

Figure 1. Wedge corrected grazing incidence wide angle x-ray scattering data acquired on a P3HT:PCBM thin film on a silicon substrate. The raw data is transformed with XSACT software such as to illustrate the in-plane and out-of-plane scattering patterns.


Typical samples for this measurement are polymers, inorganic materials of the following structure:

  • Nanopatterned surfaces

  • Nanostructured or porous thin films

  • Nanolayered materials (stackings)

Example of GISAXS/ GIWAXS applications in polymer science:

  • Müller‐Buschbaum, P. “The Active Layer Morphology of Organic Solar Cells Probed with Grazing Incidence Scattering Techniques”. Advanced Materials 26, 7692–7709 (2014).

Example of GISAXS data analysis for inorganic thin films:

  • Hohn, N. et al. “Amphiphilic diblock copolymer-mediated structure control in nanoporous germanium-based thin films.” Nanoscale 11, 2048–2055 (2019).
  • Reid, B. et al. “Photocatalytic Template Removal by Non-Ozone-Generating UV Irradiation for the Fabrication of Well-Defined Mesoporous Inorganic Coatings.” ACS Appl. Mater. Interfaces 11, 19308–19314 (2019).

Advantages of SAXS

Why use SAXS for surface structure and patterns determination?

  • Statistical relevance : get information from several layers or surface

  • Adapted for conducting or non conducting materials

  • Non destructive method

  • Compatible with in-situ dynamic experiments (temperature, drying)


All these measurements are possible directly in your lab.


Smart nanoscale characterization

Xeuss 3.0

The Next Generation
(GI-)SAXS/WAXS/USAXS beamline for the laboratory


Surface Structure

Surface Structure And Patterns – Determination With X-Ray Scattering

Surface Structure – Looking At The Long Range Order Parameters Of Nano-Structured Surfaces Or Atomic Scale Structures With GISAXS/GIWAXS