In cooperation with the Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces in Potsdam, Germany (www.mpikg.mpg.de), small angle X-ray scattering has been used extensively to characterize the bone material at nanometer-scale by geometrical properties of the mineral particles, such as thickness (T-parameter) as well as the degree of orientation (rho which represents the fraction of non-isotropically aligned mineral particles) and the function G(x), which characterizes mineral particle shape, size, and arrangement. Recently, a method was established to obtain additional parameters from this G(x)-function giving information on the typical platelet distance and the order/disorder in the arrangement of the mineral platelets.
The SAXS experiments on bone are done by scanning the sample by the X-ray beam (with a spatial resolution of 5-15mm at the synchrotron and 100-150mm at the laboratory). Subsequently, images are obtained by mapping of the determined parameter and mostly these maps are directly combined with qBEI images of the same bone region. This combination of techniques allows the correlation of several parameters characterizing the nanocomposite material of bone and other mineralized tissues.
For further information see: Fratzl et al., Progr. Colloid Polym Sci 130;2005; Fratzl et al., J Appl Cryst 36, 2003; Rinnerthaler et al., Calcif Tissue Int, 64, 1999