New X-ray Facility Brings Synchrotron-level Capabilities to BioPACIFIC MIP

BioPACIFIC MIP Advanced X-ray Available to Users

September 14, 2022
BioPACIFIC MIP X-ray Facility
BioPACIFIC MIP X-ray Facility

Originally posted March 5, 2022; updated September 14, 2022

The BioPACIFIC MIP X-ray Diffraction Platform features an unparalleled laboratory SAXS-WAXS (small- and wide-angle x-ray scattering) beamline for high-throughput characterization of biopolymers and nanostructures. Custom-developed by a research team at UCSB, the new X-Ray instrument offers performance level comparable to a second-generation synchrotron but on a benchtop instrument, to help scientists elucidate materials structure in the nano- and meso-scale.

A state-of-the-art liquid gallium X-ray source and a large-area pixel array detector are the platform’s key components. The high brilliance liquid metal jet X-ray source is a newly developed X-ray microfocus source that can increase the X-ray flux by 10X, which is crucial for measurements on weakly scattering biological and polymeric samples. The pixel array detector has single photon counting sensitivity and a large active area (5X larger) which dramatically increases the speed of data collection. The combination of the high flux source and large area detector enables data collection with a 50X increase in speed or sensitivity, thus providing a significant boost in research capability for a diverse array of projects.

Moreover, new sample environments are being developed to enable kinetic SAXS measurements upon mixing of complex fluids (mix-SAXS). By designing mixing devices compatible with optical microscopy, the combination of kinetic mix-SAXS and microscopy measurements will allow assembly and structuring in molecular systems to be resolved across an unprecedented range of length and time scales, enabling data-driven design of non-equilibrium processes and providing crucial feedback to molecular design of materials. The new sample environments will position BioPACIFIC MIP as one of the premiere research facilities for kinetic structural characterization of complex and biological fluids.

BioPACIFIC MIP facilities are open to all U.S. based scientists via a peer-reviewed user proposal process. Inquiries about the X-Ray facility or other BioPACIFIC MIP facilities, including requests for access or project consultation, can be directed to

BioPACIFIC MIP SAXS Technical Performance

ABC triblock terpolymer synthesized by ring-opening and atom transfer radical polymerization, comparing intensities as measured at the BioPACIFIC MIP and the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory. Data courtesy of Elizabeth Murphy