With biological samples like proteins and DNA, the relatively simple sample preparation means that SAXS can provide important structural information about these molecules in a more natural environment.
Prices for SAXS systems vary a great deal depending on the X-ray source, X-ray optics and detector used in a system.
Other parameters of interest obtainable from SAXS are the number of crystals in a stack, the orientation of the crystal stacks, and, in cases where the absolute intensity of scattering is known, the percentage crystallinity of the polymer.
For polymers oriented by drawing at elevated temperatures, or for melt-spun polymeric fibers, SAXS typically displays a two-point scattering pattern, indicative of alignment of crystals with their normals parallel to draw direction.
SAXS can provide information on: particle size and size distribution; particle shape (sphere, cylinder, lamella) and internal structure (core-shell); porosity (surface-to-volume ratio); order (crystallinity) and orientation of the particles; and molecular weight and aggregation number.
In a SAXS experiment the sample is irradiated by an x-ray beam.