16 Oct 2008



Time-of-flight Small-Angle Neutron Scattering instrument.

​​​​​​​Sans2d instrument


Sans2d can be used to examine size, shape, internal structure and spatial arrangement in nanomaterials, ‘soft matter’, and colloidal systems, including those of biological origin, on length scales of between* 0.25-300 nm. SANS does not locate individual atoms but rather looks at the larger structures they form. This gives important insights into many everyday materials and biological systems.

* for comparison, a human hair is about 100,000nm in diameter!

Example applications

  • Nanoscience: Nanoparticles and liposomes, green chemistry, liquid crystals.
  • Complex mixtures: Detergent molecules used in commercial products.
  • Materials: Plastics, composites, metal all rocks, magnetic materials.
  • Biological macromolecules: Nucleic acids and proteins.


  • Wide Q-range (0.02 < Q nm-1 <20); most is accessible with one instrument configuration.
  • Five 2 m guide sections with variable collimation apertures.
  • Two moveable 1 m2 detectors giving the most detector area on any SANS instrument in the world and almost 77,000 pixels.
  • High-flux at sample (3-10 times LOQ on TS1, depending on Q-range).
  • Small sample size/volume (<15 mm diameter or only 0.3-3 ml).

Did you know?

Inside the green blockhouse the detectors are housed in a cylindrical vacuum tank 3.25 m in diameter and 13 m long; this could hold enough petrol to let a regular compact car drive over a million miles! To stop the neutrons colliding with air molecules the tank is evacuated to 1/2000 of normal air pressure.​

Instrument links: 

Contact information for Sans2d instrument

Location and contact information for Sans2d beamline

Telephone01235 567076