Mission Statement

Bio-SANS was designed and optimized for analysis of the structure, function, and dynamics of complex biological systems.

Instrument Description

Bio-SANS is the cornerstone of the Center for Structural Molecular Biology (CSMB) at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Bio-SANS is designed and optimized for establishing an understanding between structure, and function, and dynamics of complex biological systems. The Bio-SANS instrument is supported by additional capabilities offered through CSMB that include biophysical characterization and X-ray scattering infrastructure. In addition, a dedicated chemical and biological sample preparation laboratory is located adjacent to the Bio-SANS instrument to facilitate optimal experimentation.

Bio-SANS user Brad O’Dell talks about using small-angle neutron scattering to study cyanobacteria.


1.    Bio-macromolecules and their Assemblies 

  • Protein-Protein Complexes
  • Protien/DNA/RNA Complexes 
  • Protein/Lipids Complexes 
  • Protein/Carbohydrate Complexes

2.    Bio-membranes 

  • Model Bilayer Systems
  • Natural Bilayer Systems

3.    Complex Systems 

  • In-Cellulo Studies
  • Viruses

4.    Biomass & Biofuels 

  • Plant Systems
  • Thermo-Chemical Processes
  • Biological Processes

5.    Biomaterials 

  • Biomimetic/Bioinspired Systems 
  • Detergent Systems 
  • Biopolymers 
  • Bio-hybrid Materials
  • Drug Delivery



Wavelength: 6 < λ < 25 Å
Wavelength resolution: Δλ ⁄ λ = 9 – 45%
Q range: 0.0009 – 1 Å-1
Sample-to-detector distance: 1.1 – 15.5 m
Detector: 2-D Linear Position-Sensitive Detector
Detector size: Main detector 1 × 1 m²
Wide Angle detector 1 x 0.8 m²
Detector resolution: Main detector 192 × 256 pixels
​Wide Angle detector 160 x 256 pixels
Max count rate: 1 MHz