General Information

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Advanced UV and X-ray Probes

The CFN operates three end-stations at the National Synchrotron Light Source (NSLS) for nanomaterials characterization. The station located at the X9 beamline performs simultaneous small- and wide-angle X-ray scattering experiments for nano-scale structural characterization of a variety of materials. The Ambient Pressure X-ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy (AP-XPS) station located at beamline X1A1 is capable of soft X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy for quantitative surface chemical analysis of a range of materials at gas pressures up to about 1 Torr.

NSLS endstations

Capabilities / Major Equipment

Small-angle and Wide-angle X-ray Scattering for structural probing on length scales from less than 1 nm to ~ 300 nm in crystals, powders, solutions and soft materials in a controlled environment. The set-up is capable of resonant scattering (7 keV to 20 keV), grazing-incidence measurements (GISAXS and GIXD) on thin films; simultaneous SAXS/WAXS; microbeam SAXS (down to 20 microns); and time-resolved SAXS at up to 30 frames per second, with sample-detector distances of up to 5 m.

Ambient Pressure X-ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy using an end-station that focuses on surface chemical analysis via core-level photoelectron spectroscopy at gas pressures up to ~ 1 torr and sample temperatures up to 500 °C. The photon energy range of the beamline (~ 200 eV to 800 eV) covers the O 1s, N 1s, C 1s, core levels as well as many transition metal core-levels. Three differential pumping stages allow for gas pressures in the Torr range at the sample while maintaining ultra-high vacuum conditions in the analyzer. Possible sample types include single crystals, foils, powders and some liquids.

Endstation Details


Contact: Kevin Yager

The X9 undulator beamline is a joint venture between the NSLS and the CFN. The endstation is a cutting-edge x-ray scattering instrument, which can probe material structure at the molecular- and nano-scale. Specifically, X9 is capable of performing simultaneous small-angle (SAXS) and wide-angle (WAXS) x-ray scattering measurements, including reflection-mode analysis (GISAXS and GIXD). This wide q-range enables simultaneous quantification of the size, order, and orientation of molecular/crystal packing, and nanostructure. It can study crystals, powders, solutions, and soft materials; with control of sample environment (air, vacuum, liquid, etc.) and temperature. The instrument allows for probing of surfaces, thin films and buried interfaces.


The x-ray energy can be tuned from ~8 to ~18 keV, providing access to a wide range of wave vectors, and thus size-scales, as well as supporting resonant scattering at edges of particular interest to hybrid materials.

The instrument can measure from a q of 0.002 A^-1 (structures as large as 300 nm) to a q of 4 A^-1 (structures as small as 1.6 Angstroms). The instrument provides microbeam SAXS capabilities (beam focus as small as 20 microns) for study of small sample, inside capillaries or microfluidics, or even inside individual micro-droplets. The undulator source provides high flux, enabling experiments that would take days on a lab x-ray instrument to be performed in seconds.

The X9 instrument is currently being actively used to study a variety of materials and challenging scientific problems. The instrument is in heavy demand for x-ray scattering from solutions of proteins and other biomolecules, as well as for characterization of supramolecular structures and nanoparticle lattices in solution. The reflection-mode capabilities are ideal for study of nanostructured thin films, including block-copolymers and lithographic patterns. Hybrid and hierarchical materials can also be studied in detail. For instance, the structure and crystalline orientation of heterogeneous materials used for organic solar-cells can be studied using X9, including probing the effect confining patterns and thermal history in-situ.