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Results of questionnaire concerning SAS formats

  • Subject: Results of questionnaire concerning SAS formats
  • From: SAS workshop <sas@ill.fr>
  • Date: Thu, 21 Aug 1997 16:26:10 +0200
In May this year, we sent out a questionnaire concerning the use of
facilities and of data treatment programs by the small-angle scattering
community of the ILL and the ESRF, as well as their experience with
different data formats.

Here, we'd like to inform you about the outcome of this exercise.

(If you receive this e-mail several times (other than via SA_SCAT) or if you
don't like to get any further information from us about this subject,
please tell us.  We'd also like to be informed of any modified e-mail

Altogether, we received answers from 55 out of about 500 people to whom we had
sent the e-mail.   Their answers are summarised below:

1.)  Fields of study

   1. Biological assemblies: 18     7. Rheological studies:           11
   2. Membranes structures:  11     8. Voids & defects:                5
   3. Colloids:              17     9. Phase studies, nucleation etc: 19
   4. Conc. polymer systems: 14    10. Critical phenomena:            11
   5. Copolymers:            18    11. Magnetic flux lattices:         3
   6. Polymer networks:       8    12. Time resolved experiments:     22
                                   13. Other, please specify:          8

   Fields named under "other" were:  Liquid crystals (3), polymer
   adsorption, scattering from gratings, supported metal catalysis,
   protein folding, crystallization

2.) Synchrotrons and/or neutron sources used:

(The European bias is primarily a reflection of our e-mail list which
started from ILL and ESRF user lists)

  20 were named (multiple nominations)

        ILL                     28
        SRS (Daresbury)         18
        ESRF                    17
        ISIS (RAL)              15
        LLB (Saclay)            6
        RISO                    6
        LURE (Saclay)           5
        NIST                    4
        ORNL                    4
        Photon Factory (Japan)  3
        NSLS (Brookhaven NL)    3
        GKSS                    3
        KFA JULICH              3
        KENS (Japan)            2
        Argonne                 2
        Elettra (Trieste)       2
        HMI                     2
        Studsvik                1
        Los Alamos              1

3.) Type(s) of camera(s) used

A wide variety of cameras was named.  We refrain from citing them all here.

4.) Kinds of data treatment

        1.) Indirect transforms         19
        2.) Particle size distribution  20
        3.) Fitting of 1D, 2D functions 32
        4.) Model fitting               34
        5.) De-smearing                 13
        6.) Other, please specify       17

   Data treatment mentioned under "other" were:deconvolution p(r) -> rho(r),
   single-crystal analysis, Hayter-Penfold analysis, MaxEnt, Fourier
   transforms, Crowley inversion, time evolution of Bragg peaks,
   measurement of orientations, analysis of projections, correlation
   functions, shape analysis.

5.) Exported data reduction, data analysis or interconversion utilities

  Site supplied:  SRS, OTOKO, BSL, ILL, Genie, Colette, Oak Ridge

  Distributed/commercial: MAR, Peakfit, Transform, PDH/ITP, SCT, Mathematica,
    Cerius, RFIT, Gnom, Image Quant, PVWave, Igor, Spyglass, Origin, Lotus

  Own:  36 users reported on the use of their own programs, of which most
    are neither available to the community nor documented

6.) Web sites containing information about data formats for SAS

    Surprisingly few sites were mentioned, which probably reflects that
    though instruments and sample facilities are described by the large
    centres only rarely is given information on data formats.
    More worrying to ILL is that even the ILL web site which has
    contained information about ILL SANS data formats for some time seems
    to be unknown by most people as a source for such information (use the
    page finder utility...)!

    The sites cited were:


7.)  Major treatment problems related to data formats

    14   had no problems dealing with their data

     6   mentioned that they would like a common standard

     2   commented on Unix <=> VMS problems


     7   marked a distinct preference for simple ASCII data

     2   proposed CIF, especially for sequences of 2-D data

     1   proposed that an EXCEL option would be generally useful

     6   wished to have interconversion programs available, especially
         in source form

    Amongst those commenting there was a general wish for documentation
    on formats in use, at least as a starting point even if a common
    standard could not be envisaged.


We are contacting in the near future a number of package authors
and maintainers to propose a workshop to face these problems of
compatibility.  This will take place at ILL, Grenoble,  February 4-6,
1998. We hope that bringing together a small active group prepared to
program will actually produce a policy and even sets of conversion

                        THANKS TO ALL WHO ANSWERED !

      If you wish to have more information about these responses or
     you would like to offer additional comments please send them to:


SAS groups of ESRF and ILL, Grenoble
Monitored by
Wim Bras(ESRF), Claudio Ferrero(ESRF), Ron Ghosh(ILL), Roland May(ILL)
Peter Timmins(ILL).