Understanding the physiological role of lipids in cell membranes is strictly coupled to determination of their impact on membrane structure using well-defined lipid-only model systems. Elastic and inelastic scattering experiments using neutrons or X-rays are non-invasive, probe-free techniques that provide such insight and have been advanced significantly in the past years. In particular recent developments allow to study details of structure, elasticity and interactions in phase-separated systems mimicking membrane rafts. We review the basic concepts underlying these developments.
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