Among Kratky’s many significant scientific achievements, his development and application of the small-angle X-ray scattering method is among the most important. This method enables the non-destructive examination of biological materials, synthetic materials as well as metals, alloys and glass. Whereas in conventional X-ray diagnostics only a shadow image was examined, in small-angle X-ray scattering the rays deflected or scattered from the incident X-ray beam at particularly small angles are observed as they pass through an object.
Since one is dealing with macromolecules and colloidal particles that are 100 to 1000 times the size of an atom, the diffraction must take place at very small angles. The advantage of the method is that it is not only non-destructive, but the results obtained are more precise than electron microscopes of the time could achieve. Furthermore, weighing for weight determination can be carried out with this method.