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Designing and Performing Biologicial Solution Small-Angle Neutron Scattering Contrast Variation Experiments on Multi-component Assemblies



Susan Krueger


Solution small-angle neutron scattering (SANS) combined with contrast variation provides information about the size and shape of individual components in a multi-component biological assembly, as well as the spatial arrangements between the components. The large difference in neutron scattering strength between hydrogen and deuterium is key to the method. Isotopic substitution of deuterium for some or all of the hydrogen in either the molecule or the solvent can greatly alter the scattering properties. Thus, SANS with contrast variation proves unique information that cannot be easily obtained using other scattering techniques. If use correctly, SANS with contrast variation is a powerful tool for determining the solution structure of multi-component biological assemblies. The principles of SANS theory with contrast variati0on are discussed, along with experiment design and executing, as well as data analysis. The described methodology is focused on two-component complexes. However, examples of its use for multi-component complexes are included.
Biological Small Angle Scattering: Techniques, Strategies and Tips, Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology
Publisher Info
Springer Nature, New York, NY


Small-angle neutron scattering, contrast variation, isotopic substitution, biological assemblies
Created December 7, 2017, Updated August 22, 2018