The basics of small-angle neutron scattering (SANS for new users of structural biology)
1 European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL), Hamburg Unit, c/o Deutsches Elektronen-Synchrotron, 22607 Hamburg, Germany
2 Department of Physics, Chemistry, and Biology, Linköping University, 581 83 Linköping, Sweden
* Corresponding author: firstname.lastname@example.org
Published online: 1 July 2020
Small-angle neutron scattering (SANS) provides a means to probe the time-preserved structural state(s) of bio-macromolecules in solution. As such, SANS affords the opportunity to assess the redistribution of mass, i.e., changes in conformation, which occur when macromolecules interact to form higher-order assemblies and to evaluate the structure and disposition of components within such systems. As a technique, SANS offers scope for ‘out of the box thinking’, from simply investigating the structures of macromolecules and their complexes through to where structural biology interfaces with soft-matter and nanotechnology. All of this simply rests on the way neutrons interact and scatter from atoms (largely hydrogens) and how this interaction differs from the scattering of neutrons from the nuclei of other ‘biological isotopes’. The following chapter describes the basics of neutron scattering for new users of structural biology in context of the neutron/hydrogen interaction and how this can be exploited to interrogate the structures of macromolecules, their complexes and nano-conjugates in solution.
© The Authors, published by EDP Sciences, 2020
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