Laboratory space is a precious and expensive resource leaving researchers to favor high quality, compact systems where possible. The NanoMAX design satisfies this criterion well in that the system size is approximately 1 m long whereas traditional pinhole systems usually require 3 m system lengths or longer. The NanoMAX system can be installed on a variety of X-ray sources, including the open port of a rotating anode, and has the advantage that higher flux is delivered to the sample in a much shorter camera length compared to pinhole SAXS systems. Most importantly, the NanoMAX incorporates features and hardware to support SAXS data collection for both isotropic and anisotropic scatterers with a very wide q-ranges of 0.0043 Å⁻¹ < q < 3.5 Å⁻¹.
A compact, high performance SAXS system
The very nature of a SAXS experiment imposes strict requirements on the intensity of X-rays on the sample. Parasitic scattering may seriously impact data quality in the small angle region, especially for weakly scattering samples. Therefore, the probe beam needs to be “cleaned” by pinholes, which masks a significant portion of the direct beam. The development of the “scatterless pinhole” drastically improved intensity by eliminating the need for a “guard pinhole”, but it cannot completely eliminate parasitic scattering. The NanoMAX uses a “2D Kratky“ design, which delivers high flux on the sample while totally eliminating parasitic scattering. SAXS systems can come in a variety of forms, each with advantages and disadvantages for supporting a variety of sample types, including weakly scattering samples or those whose experimental requirements require environmental variation, such as temperature, pressure or stress.
Universal sample holder with WAXS capability
The NanoMAX system includes a universal sample stage design that supports a variety of additional stages with kinematic mounts. The stages can quickly be swapped using a one-hand operation for installation. Additionally, the sample stages are encoded for automatic recognition and software control. Sample changing and analysis are almost effortless due to this new modular design. Stage options include a solid sample stage, capillary sample stage, a rotary stage and others.
Sample stages mount on a gantry system that transports the sample stage to change the distance from the detector, thus changing the measurable q range for both SAXS and wide angle X-ray scattering (WAXS) experiments. The gantry also has motions for positioning the samples within the X-ray beam. This shared positioning minimizes complexity and cost of the system while extending the application to a broader range of samples and experimental configurations. For example, the automated sample-to-detector distance change function allows for quick and automated change of the q range to extend measurement to wide angle X-ray scattering (WAXS) experiments. Moreover, additional stages extend experimental measurements for grazing incidence (GI) and for high temperature.