Advanced Photon Source at Argonne National Laboratory   APS USAXS instrument
USAXS instrument at the Advanced Photon Source,
X-ray science division, beamline 9ID-C

Advanced Photon Source

A U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Science,
Office of Basic Energy Sciences national synchrotron x-ray research facility

Argonne Home > Advanced Photon Source > USAXS >

Staff web pages:
      Jan Ilavsky, inst. scientist

      Glassy Carbon int. stnd.
      Example USAXS data
      Getting beam time
      Instrument Geometries
      USAXS imaging
      Sample Holders
      Select publications
      User publications
      Shipping Instructions
Live USAXS data
Software by Jan Ilavsky:
      Indra (reduction)
      Irena (analysis)
      Nika (2D data reduction)
      Cromer-Liberman AtFF
      Clementine (kinetic rate analysis)
      other macros
Useful WWW links

Ultra-Small-Angle X-ray Scattering Facility

e-mail:, instrument scientist: Jan Ilavsky, 630-252-0866, and Ivan Kuzmenko, 630-252-0327,

USAXS Imaging

Current USAXS imaging results show large promise for applications in materials science and biology. In this technique the photodiode is replaced by CCD camera. The sample is positioned and then instrument is in steps tuned to various Q. The image on the CCD camera reflects the parts of microstructure, which scatter at teh tuned Q values . The beam needs to be at each step attenuated appropriately, so the CCD is not damaged. Since the intensity drops roughly as Q^(-4), the exposure time ranges wildly. From heavily attenuated beam at around Q=0 to many minutes at larger Q values.

This technique showed impressive results when combined for example with samples which were strained and developed strain cracks. One can then observe crack formation, orientation, location depending on their size (selected by selecting appropriate Q). This technique is available for II program only in limited way, as we need to yet optimize parts of the instrumentation. However, if you have problem appropriate for this instrument, please, contact me.

The resolution and field of view depends on the optics. The best resolution we were able to achieve was about 1 micron. With 20X magnification, the field of view is approximately 500 x 750 micron^2.

USAXS imaging is capable of showing inhomogeneities with sizes greater than 1 micron, which is about where the USAXS effective range ends. Scatterers with different scattering power show up in different part of the Fourier spectrum. By analyzing the spectrum, we can distinguish the intensity contributions from different scatterers and illustrate their spatial distribution. It should benefit weak contrast and non-conductive materials, which are difficult to image with traditional electron microscope and X-ray radiography.

Few publications are available to help users to understand the USAXS imaging method.

Levine, L. E. and G. G. Long (2004). "X-ray imaging with ultra-small-angle X-ray scattering as a contrast mechanism." Journal of Applied Crystallography 37: 757-765. (pdf copy here)
A new transmission X-ray imaging technique using ultra-small-angle X-ray scattering (USAXS) as a contrast mechanism is described. USAXS imaging can sometimes provide contrast in cases where radiography and phase-contrast imaging are unsuccessful. Images produced at different scattering vectors highlight different microstructural features within the same sample volume. When used in conjunction with USAXS scans, USAXS imaging provides substantial quantitative and qualitative three-dimensional information on the sizes, shapes and spatial arrangements of the scattering objects. The imaging technique is demonstrated on metal and biological samples.

Levine, L. E., G. G. Long, et al. (2007). "Self-assembly of carbon black into nanowires that form a conductive three dimensional micronetwork." Applied Physics Letters 90(1).
The authors have used mechanical self-assembly of carbon-black nanoparticles to fabricate a three dimensional, electrically connected micronetwork of nanowires embedded within an insulating, supporting matrix of poly(methyl methacrylate). The electrical connectivity, mean wire diameter, and morphological transitions were characterized as a function of the carbon-black mass fraction. Conductive wires were produced with mean diameters as low as 24 nm with lengths up to 100 mu; 2007 American Institute of Physics.




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This page last modified: 2006-09-28 10:54 AM