Software for Diffraction

spec is a UNIX-based software package for instrument control and data acquisition widely used for X-ray diffraction at synchrotrons around the world and in university, national and industrial laboratories.


  • Built-in code to regulate motor controllers and detection electronics using USB, VME, CAMAC, GPIB, RS-232, PC-board and ethernet-socket interfaces.
  • Generalized access for VME, CAMAC, GPIB, RS-232, PC I/O ports and socket I/O to read from and write to user devices.
  • Support for EPICS, TACO and TANGO distributed real-time instrument control systems.
  • Server mode for remote operation from spec clients or third party clients.
  • Sophisticated user interface with command interpreter, complete with variables, looping and flow control, allowing for creative experiment automation.
  • Language uses a familiar C-like syntax.
  • A command-file facility allows complicated or commonly used command sequences to be immediately called up.
  • An easy-to-use macro facility, with a large library of predefined macros. Macros can be readily modified with any text editor to suit experiments.
  • Scans, data-file formats, etc. are not built into the compiled program but defined as easily modified macros.
  • High-resolution, real-time data plots.
  • Macro libraries and geometry-calculation routines support two-, four-, five- and six-circle diffractometers, kappa diffractometers, many liquid surface X-ray diffractometers and other configurations. The standard four-circle diffractometer supports many advanced modes and includes features such as least-squares refinement of the lattice parameters. New geometry configurations can be created.
  • Hardware configuration employs a spread-sheet-style interface to select device names, addresses, motor parameters, etc.
  • Security features let site administrators restrict access to particular motors (such as those at a synchrotron beam-line front end).
  • Available for Linux, Sun Solaris and Mac OS X.

For licensed users