The Saxier Project
Saxier is an initiative of European groups involved in exploring novel scientific applications for the new generation of small-angle X-ray scattering (SAXS) beamlines at high brilliance synchrotron facilities. SAXS is a powerful technique providing unique information on the nanostructure and kinetics of condensed matter. With the upcoming of undulator beamlines at the first European 3rd generation synchrotron (ESRF), novel SAXS applications in the areas of very short time-scales (down to micro-seconds), very broad resolution range (from nanometer to micrometer) and ultra-small beam sizes (down to nano-scale) have been demonstrated. SAXS beamlines are available, to be upgraded or constructed at all major existing and planned European synchrotrons.
The aim of the project is development and testing of major hardware and software components of SAXS beamlines to find and implement novel solutions adequately exploiting the high brilliance synchrotron sources. The main components of a SAXS beamline and the topics covered by Saxier are schematically illustrated on the figure below. Our approach involves major elements of a modern beamline "after the beryllium window", e.g. the part of a synchrotron radiation facility outside the storage ring (indicated as X-ray source). This ensures wide portability of the results and prototypes development in the study between the European facilities.
The design and feasibility studies include optical elements for nano-focussed beams and unique sample environment options for multidisciplinary studies (nano-manipulation, on-line micro-Raman, microspray and gel-filtration, cryo- and microfluidic devices). An integrated software system for automated data analysis will be created. The infrastructure will be of particular interest for structural biology of proteins and macromolecular machines, in the studies of biological and advanced nanomaterials (e.g. tissues, fibroins, biomimetic devices, catalysis, composite materials), of crystallisation and phase transition phenomena, surface chemistry etc.