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Small Angle Scattering:
Structural Biology and Soft Matter

Thank you to our sponsors:

Anton Paar     Dectris     Rigaku     Xenocs

Workshop Date

July 25, 2015


Sheraton Philadelphia Downtown Hotel
201 North 17th Street
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 19103

Contact Information

Richard Gillilan
Cornell High Energy Synchrotron Source (CHESS)
Phone: (607)254-8983

How to Register

All participants must pre-register for the workshop and submit the following fee with their meeting registration form:

Student or Post-doc - before May 31, $130, on or after June 1 $180
Academic others - before May 31, $130, on or after June 1 $180
Corporate - before May 31, $250, on or after June 1 $300

7/15/15: Registration is now closed for Biology Track students, but still open for Soft Matter Track students.

Please click here to register for the workshop.

View a photo gallery of images from the workshop here.

Cornell High Energy Synchrotron Source (CHESS) is supported by the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health/National Institute of General Medical Sciences under NSF award DMR-1332208 and NIH award GM-103485.

Course Topics

Basic Theory and Methods

  • Theory Essentials: understanding the scattering profile
  • What are all those plots? (Guinier, Kratky, & Prord plots)
  • Do Try This at Home: tips and tricks for lab-source data collection
  • SAXS and SANS: unique strengths and differences
  • National sources: how to get time, what to expect

Tutorials (both parallel sessions)

  • Basic SAX/SANS analysis methods (molecular weights, plots, envelopes)

Biological Topics

  • Sample preparation and characterization
  • Assessing data quality, finding basic parameters
  • Distance distributions and molecular envelopes
  • Flexibility
  • Analysis of mixtures and separation
  • SANS Contrast Variation
  • Publishing Data: what you should know

Soft Matter Topics

  • Sample preparation and characterization
  • SAXS, SANS, and USAXS basics (Guinier, Porod approximations)
  • Introduction to Grazing Incidence SAXS (GISAXS)
  • Overview of models for specific systems
  • Advanced modeling

Small Angle Scattering: Structural Biology and Soft Matter

Small angle x-ray solution scattering (SAXS) continues to experience dramatic growth within both the structural biology and soft matter communities. While there tends to be relatively little interaction between these communities historically, the two share essentially the same basic theoretical foundation as well as a number of tools and techniques. This workshop will bring together leading SAS experts in both areas to prepare students for successful experiments. The morning portion of the dual-track/two-room workshop will be a joint session covering theory and practice common to both fields. After the joint session, the rooms will be divided and the two parallel sessions will cover specifics of the individual fields of soft matter and structural biology. In addition to synchrotron sources, this workshop is expected to have some content devoted to laboratory x-rays sources, but also particularly neutron sources and techniques.

The workshop format will include lectures, and a selection of hands-on practical exercises. Students will be expected to bring laptops with appropriate pre-installed software as necessary. Prior to the workshop, a website (prepared by Cornell) will be configured containing installation instructions and software for each tutorial. Throughout the workshop, the emphasis will be on knowing how to judge data quality, what to do about problematic samples, and basic requirements for acceptable publication of first-time data. Students will also learn tips and tricks for home laboratory data collection and be introduced to the various national synchrotron BioSAXS beamlines and neutron sources. This workshop will also aim to educate students about the particular advantages of neutron scattering and the extra steps necessary to carry out a first SANS experiment. Selected advanced modelling techniques will also be covered.