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Since the early days of small-angle scattering (SAS), this technique has been used to characterize the structure of solid materials on the nanometer scale. Some recent developments in this field will be reviewed, focusing on alloys, ceramics and (nano-) composite materials. The large field of SAS from polymeric systems will not be covered. Classical applications of SAS are the characterization of pores or precipitates in alloys, for instance. In more recent years, a range of new applications for X-ray SAS has emerged owing to the availability of more and more brilliant (synchrotron) X-ray sources. Examples include grazing-incidence SAXS, used increasingly to characterize nano-structured surfaces on semiconductors and also on other materials. The use of a narrow X-ray beam also allows the investigation of extremely inhomogeneous or hierarchically structured materials by scanning SAXS. In this approach, the specimen is moved step by step across an X-ray beam with a diameter of a few micrometers (or even less), collecting a SAXS pattern at each step. In neutron SAS, the systematic use of magnetic cross-sections has brought considerable progress in the study of magnetic nano-particles or nano-composites. Single crystalline or textured materials are being studied under several orientations with respect to the primary beam to yield three-dimensional (neutron or X-ray) SAS patterns. In many cases, SAS is combined with other techniques, such as electron microscopy, spectroscopy or mechanical characterization, the most elegant being an in-situ combination. A number of recent examples for the above-mentioned approaches will be given.

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