Small Angle X-Ray Scattering for Nanostructure Measurements - An Interview with Peter Høghøj and Frédéric Bossan
Interview conducted by Will Soutter from AzoNetwork.
In August this year, Xenocs launched their new Nano-inXider SAXS instrument at the 23rd IUCr Congress in Montreal. In this interview, AZoNano spoke to Xenocs CEO Peter Høghøj and Executive Vice President Frédéric Bossan, about the revolutionary new instrument.
WS: So the Nano-inXider was launched this summer – can you tell us what is new about this instrument?
PH: Nano-inXider is compact and easy to use Small Angle X-ray Scattering (SAXS) equipment. SAXS is a powerful technique which allows you to access information about the nanostructure of materials, in the size range from about 1 nm up to beyond 150 nm.
In the Nano-inXider we can combine SAXS with WAXS, and thereby couple nanostructure data with information about the crystalline structure of materials. So it’s really a nice instrument, which complements other techniques such as electron beam microscopy or dynamic light scattering very well, in the field of nanomaterial analysis.
WS: Can you tell us what the differences are between your existing SAXS/WAXS instrument, the Xeuss 2.0, and the Nano-inXider?
FB: When we developed and launched the Xeuss 2.0, we were targeting very advanced customers looking for a high end solution, with a high degree of versatility.
We defined the Xeuss as the SAXS/WAXS “laboratory beamline”, bringing almost synchrotron-class measurement into the lab in terms of performance, and also in terms of versatility. The instrument was designed to allow the customers to really play with the machine, and to adapt it to the constraints of their application.
As we were promoting the Xeuss, talking to a lot of different people in the market, we realized that there is a need for another type of equipment, for a different type of customer.
These customers are not really interested in playing with the hardware and having ultimate configurability, but are simply looking for a high performance solution which is easy to use.
On this basis, we developed the Nano-inXider, which we define as “SAXS made easy” – giving people access to SAXS capabilities right in their lab, without the need for users who are already experts in the technique.
WS: Can you tell us some of the applications that are enabled with this type of instrument?
PH: The SAXS technique addresses a lot of very exciting applications. I can only mention a few here, but some of the most exciting are things like polymers - we have customers that are looking at polymers under strain, with tensile stages in the instrument, or as a function of temperature.
We can also map the structure of polymers – which is great for determining the structure as a function of location within an injection molded polymer part, for example.
We are also looking at nanoparticles – we can do size distribution and shape distribution of nanoparticles. This is an area where SAXS is very useful in a quality control type of application - and the Nano-inXider makes that kind of application possible.
SAXS can also be used in life sciences – we have done work looking at SAXS of various biomolecular structures. We can get the envelope of proteins, and combined with other techniques people can get an incredible insight into the structure of proteins.
So it’s a very valuable technique for a lot of different applications.
WS: You mentioned that the Nano-inXider is very easy to use – what are some of the design decisions that your have implemented to achieve this?
FB: Before we began the development process for the instrument, we took great care to gather feedback from as many sources as possible – from our existing customers, from potential customers looking for easier ways to implement SAXS/WAXS in their lab, and from users of other types of analytical instruments, such as electron microscopes.
Many people from all of these groups told us that there is a real need for a much easier way to implement SAXS/WAXS.
So when we were working on the Nano-inXider, we worked with a designer to integrate all of this input from the market, and came up with this innovative design. The main key elements that we think make the biggest impacts were the sample area, and the software.
The software can control every aspect of the instrument, and is designed to be extremely easy to use for both data collection and data processing.
The sample is given a very large space, making it as ergonomic as possible – after all, when running a SAXS experiment, this is the part of the instrument that the user will interact with the most.
This also helps with allowing the Nano-inXider to adapt to the different applications that Peter mentioned – there is space to fit a temperature stage, a tensile machine, a flow cell, or whatever else is needed for the specific application. All of these accessories are fully integrated with both the hardware and the software.
See the interview with embedded video and photographs on Azonano.com
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