The SAXS/WAXS beamline operates a full schedule of User hours with ongoing beamline development occurring at other times. An overview of the technique and samples are covered in the relevant SAXS webpages while detailed information about running samples is provided on the Beamline Wiki. General details on applying for beamtime at the Australian Synchrotron are available in the User Information section of the Australian Synchrotron website. Hints, tips and requests for users applying for SAXS/WAXS beam time are detailed below.


Preparing Your Experiment Proposal

When writing your proposal it is important to consider the suitability of the SAXS/WAXS beamline for your experiment. The Samples for SAXS/WAXSSAXS Specifications and Beamline Wiki pages are recommended for the preparation of your proposal and will help in planning your experiment.

A Detailed Guide for preparing high quality, competitive proposals for the SAXS/WAXS beamline is available here.

For questions regarding planning an experiment not covered by the information on our website, please contact beamline staff. However, please use the website as a first point of reference.


Hints regarding assessment criteria 

  • Clearly specify why the experiment cannot be conducted on a laboratory SAXS instrument.

  • Clearly state how the data collected will be analysed after the experiment.

    • Information on programs to be used, potential models and what parameters are being sought in the analysis is recommended. This information is indicative of a well-considered experiment and helps reviewers understand the goals of the proposal.

  • Detail any publications arising from previous synchrotron work, including relevant non-synchrotron work especially if you are new to the field.

    • In particular, be aware that a track record of conducting experiments at the Australian Synchrotron without subsequent publication or explanation will not be well regarded. This is particularly true if time has been awarded twice or more.

  • For assessing scientific merit, in addition to explaining the overall aims of your research clearly state the role of the proposed experiment in the research program.

    • For example, give details of the specific hypothesis being tested by the experiment. 

  • For assessing the need for synchrotron radiation, give evidence-based justification.

    • This may include (but is not limited to) SEC traces, laboratory SAXS data, light scattering, microscopy, etc.

  • Please give background information to the experiment, including results from other laboratory and/or synchrotron experiments using other techniques, not only SAXS.

  • for in-situ experiments, explain why the experiment needs to be done in situ, and demonstrate in your proposal that adequate previous work (e.g. ex-situ analysis) has been done to justify in-situ experiments.
  • be careful of proposing to measure all combinations of all experimental parameters in your experiment design that might result in large numbers of samples, without providing supporting justification.
  • remember the application process is competitive. You are competing against the quality and scope of other proposals.


Requests for the Experimental Section

  • Be mindful of the sample mounting and handling capabilities of the beamline (refer to the Beamline Wiki and Samples for SAXS/WAXS). A description of how samples will be handled and mounted on the beamline is required.

  • you are encouraged to come to the beamline day ahead to setup up more complex experiments in the User cabin. We have a good system for simulating the setup and space envelope of the beamline outside in the cabin, allowing you to set up and test your setup before the beamtime starts (potentially saving many hours) and move pre-assembled experiments into the hutch and get running quickly. Do not expect beamline staff to do setup work that you can reasonably be expected to do for yourself.
  • Similarly, be aware of the sample environments available on the beamline (refer to the  Beamline Wiki and Samples for SAXS/WAXS), and detail which environments are required. Additionally, provide details of any sample environments/requirements that are not presently available or that are intended to be brought on site.

  • If you plan to bring your own equipment, sample environments or sample mounts please read the Bringing You Own Equipment section of the  Beamline Wiki. This must be stated clearly in the proposal to ensure the technical feasibility of the experiment can be fairly assessed. Note that minimum cable length from the sample stage to outside the experimental hutch is 7m. All electronic equipment must have current electrical testing and tagging.

  • All proposals are required to clearly state what Q-range(s) are required for the experiment. Please refer to the SAXS Specifications page for more information on the Q-range available.

  • Be aware that typical exposure times are 1 - 10 seconds. This allows large numbers of samples to be studied and requires you to make plans to made to minimise time to change or swap samples to ensure efficient use of beam time.

  • Please describe your experimental plan in detail, including experimental setup (with clear diagrams if non-standard), number of samples, concentrations, number of measurement steps, length of measurements, etc.

  • We schedule experiments in blocks of similar setups (e.g. solutions with autoloader, GISAXS, transmission) and this places constraints on what combinations of setups are supportable. In particular, if you are using the solution autoloader we will not support any other choice of setup for an experiment. Same constraint typically applies for GISAXS, unless by prior consultation. Best advice is if in doubt to consult beamline staff when writing your proposal .


During Your Experiment


Beamline Induction

After a successful application for an experiment, you will be required to undertake separate facility and beamline safety inductions before beginning your work. Following successful completion of the facility safety induction (carried out online through the portal website before EA submission), users are expected to participate in the beamline-specific safety induction (prior to beginning work on the beamline). Even if you have attended an experiment at a different Australian Synchrotron beamline those new to the SAXS beamline must undergo an induction. All experiment participants are requested to make themselves available for this induction at the beginning of the experiment as a single group regardless of when they plan to work onsite, i.e. night shift users must be available at the start also. This is to ensure that beamline staff is available onsite to perform the induction and to ensure that all those involved in an experiment are trained to work safely.


User Support Policy

User support on the SAXS/WAXS beamline is outlined below. Although it may occasionally be possible for us to provide additional support, this should not be expected. If additional support is required it must be discussed with beamline staff in advance of the experiment. This support policy refers to troubleshooting only. Changes in the experimental setup and/or SAXS camera will only be undertaken until 6pm and this should be considered when planning your experiments.

Beamline staff will be available onsite between 9:00am and 5:00pm on weekdays and may be contacted for support during this time.

Beamline staff will be onsite at weekends only as required for beamline set-up.

Outside these hours the Control Room (extension 4123) should be a first point of contact. If the control room operators are unable to assist, a member of the beamline staff will be available on call during weekday evenings and at weekends until 11pm. Staff are unavailable after this time.

User Feedback Survey

To facilitate user-driven development and improvement, the Australian Synchrotron requires that a User Feedback Survey is completed after each experiment conducted at the facility. After your experiment, one member of the research group / team should complete the online survey found here. Regardless of the number of participants in an experiment, only one feedback survey is required. This survey provides us with an indicator of beamline performance and helps us highlight areas for development and all user groups are encouraged to complete it.