The combination of high neutron flux and low experimental background make the Bio-SANS instrument ideally matched to the demands of biological scattering and promises to significantly extend the number, size and complexity of biological systems that are accessible to neutron scattering analysis.
Data from Bio-SANS is allowing researchers to investigate the structure, organization and assembly of a variety of biological materials, ranging from the analysis of peptide deposits implicated in amyloid disease, the analysis of electron transfer process in cellular systems and to the analysis of the structural changes in plant cell walls during processing and conversion of biomass to bio-fuels.
A wide-angle detector bank installed in 2016 has increased the accessible scattering q-range 15-fold, critical for time-resolved studies of hierarchical and large biological systems. Advancements in sample environment capabilities include an improved pressure cell, a multi-position sample holder with rotational (tumbling) capability, a humidity-controlled chamber, and a flow cell. Furthermore, grazing-incidence SANS in conjunction with the humidity chamber is also being developed. The sample area has also been reconfigured to provide flexibility in mounting a wider range of sample environments. Recent implementation of automated batch-processing for data reduction through open source software (MantidPlot) enhances the efficiency of the neutron scattering user experiments.