Nominations list

The Nanotechnology International Prize RUSNANOPRIZE-2010 in the field of «Nanodiagnostics» is awarded to professor Lev Feygin (chief research fellow of the RAS Crystallography Institute, Russia) and Dmitri Svergun (Group Executive of the European Molecular-Biological Lab, Germany) for the development of small angle X-ray scattering technique for structural diagnostics of nano-particles and systems. They have justified such ability and it has been experimentally confirmed in a series of pioneer experiments. Computation methods have been developed to solve scattering feedback in small angle X-ray scattering; fine structural definitions have been performed using synchrotron radiation.

General principles of this method are discussed in the paperwork of Prof. Feigin “About DNA packing inside the heads of bacteriophages D7, T2, Sd” (Biophysics, Vol. 10, No. 3, 1965) and Prof. Dmitri Svergun “Structure of the Bacteriophage T7 based on data from small angle X-ray scattering” (USSR AN Reports, Vol. 255, No. 6, 1980).

An idea has been proposed for shape and structure determination of macro molecules based on data from small angle X-ray scattering. The feasibility of its execution has been experimentally proved based on a range of samples of protein molecules and viruses. For the first time the structure of the T7 bacteriophage has been deciphered in its native state: the shape of the virus particle has been determined with precision (an octahedron with an edge length of 60 nm and a spherical DNA core 30 nm of diameter). A solution has been proposed and accepted: a first prototype of a laboratory X-ray automatic small angle fractometer has been created along with a pack of algorithms and computational programs for experimental data processing (synchrotron and laboratory) from the small angle X-ray scattering. These programs also provide restoration of the shape and inner structure of bio-molecules and other dimensional properties of nano-objects. These works of L.A. Feygin and D.I. Svergun have laid the basis of a modern method of small angle X-ray scattering for nano-diagnostics.

The Prize symbol is also awarded to Hecus X-RAY SYSTEMS for the development and production of small angle X-ray scattering equipment. Its pioneer developments of small angle X-ray devices let utilize the method of small angle X-ray scattering for nano-diagnostics of a wide range of nano-compounds in many technological and research centers.

The company has been releasing the following measurement tools since 1993: High Brilliance SAXS.SWAXS.GISAXS; it provides integration with the scanning micro-calorimetry, high-pressure devices (hydrostatic and/or gas) of the SAXS gas sorption.

From 1993 till 2005 the volume of the company’s SWAXS and electronics sales has totaled about 10 million euros; however, during the period from 2006 to 2010 it has totaled about 8 million.

About the method: Small angle X-ray scattering is a diffraction method of researching the over-atomic compound structure using focused small angle X-ray radiation on compound impurities on a scale of nanometers.

Small angle X-ray scattering is a well known analytic method of analyzing nano-scale structures. It is widely utilized in scientific research of compounds, as well as in routine material characterization during its production process or machining.

This method is suitable for nano-structure analysis present in many samples: from liquids (e.g. surface-active compounds, protein solutions) to hard bodies (e.g. polymer film, nano composites). The method allows gathering important information compared with other physical, physical and chemical methods of structure examination. This brings accuracy into scientific research and reliability into industrial analysis.

Samples can be hard bodies or liquids, containing nano-scale domains (particles) of other compounds. These domains can be solid, liquid and even gaseous on scales from 1 nm to 100 nm. During the X-ray penetration of these compounds scattering occurs at the border between the surface section and the nano-structural phase. This gives a scattering profile (dependency of the radiation intensity on the scattering angle), specific to the given structure.

Nano-scale particles and domains scatter in the range of small angles less than 30 degrees. The scattering profiles allows gathering of important information about the structural features of the nano-scale elements (size and shape, phase composition, orientation and distribution).

Atomic and inter-atomic distances scatter in the range of large angles. The obtained wide angle scattering profile gives information about the crystal lattice of the atomic or molecular structure, phase composition.

The small angle x-ray scattering method is positional and does not require any significant resource expenses during its execution. It is also not destructive in respect to the sample and its sample preparation procedure is very simple. Moreover, this method allows research of the formation of an ordered molecular structure in real time. Such interactions lead to self-assembly and alteration of the structure in macro-scale; compound properties and biological processes are often based on this.

Distinctive uses of this method

  • Shape and size of nano-scale elements
  • Internal structure, phase compound –surface area to volume relationship, porosity
  • Molecular mass, aggregation number
  • Degree of crystalicity
  • Distribution of particles based on size

Objects of research:

  • Self-organizing surfactant systems, micro emulsions – Molecular biology (proteins, viruses, DNA complexes, lipid membranes, etc.)
  • Polymer and fiber research
  • Catalysts (estimation of the surface area based on the volume)
  • Concrete, coal and other amorphous hard bodies
  • Alloys