Synchrotron X-ray scattering: the reference for high-resolution nanoparticle characterization

E. Capria, M. Sztucki, N. Theyencher
European Synchrotron Radiation Facility,

Keywords: X-ray, characterization


Consumer products very often exhibit macroscopic properties which are strongly dependent on their micro- and nano-structures extending over multiple size scales. Small Angle X-ray Scattering (SAXS) techniques help researchers in various scientific fields like physics, materials sciences, and engineering to study condensed matter samples whether they are in liquid or solid form. The accessible structures range from atomic to mesoscopic scales. In particular, SAXS is suited for measurements of nanoparticle size, size-distributions, shape, concentration and spatial organisation (clustering, short range order, etc.) in the range from few nm to hundreds of nm. The advantage of using SAXS compared to traditional techniques like AFM, TEM or dynamic light scattering is that they offer an analysis deep in the bulk, even on turbid solutions and often do not require specific sample preparation. Laboratory SAXS instruments have evolved a lot during recent years and offer performances that are adequate to most of the needs related with nanoparticle sizing and counting. However, in some specific cases, a need for a more brilliant source is needed. In this case the technique can be implemented with an X-ray photon source provided by particle accelerators known as synchrotrons. The advantage of synchrotron SAXS is based on its high brilliance resulting in high resolution measurements, high throughput real-time experiments and also a large accessible size range up to the micron scale (Ultra Small-Angle X-ray Scattering – USAXS). Our talk will present various SAXS experiments carried out using synchrotron light, with the objective to understand the potential of the technique for the field of the analysis of nanoparticle. Moreover, the complementarity between laboratory equipment and synchrotron SAXS, will be discussed.