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College Park, Maryland      June 6 - 10 , 2004

WP73: SPICE - Spectrometer Instrument Control Environment

M.D. Lumsden, J.L. Robertson, M. Yethiraj (HFIR Center for Neutron Scattering, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, Tennessee 37831, USA.)

We have developed a LabVIEW-based data acquisition system for neutron scattering instruments with initial implementation on the triple-axis spectrometer. The software is written with a modular framework to allow easy expansion to handle different instruments, commands, and user interfaces. At the core of the software is a command-line parsing engine which sequentially executes commands from an execution stack. Commands can be added to the execution stack via by directly typing into the command line, from the included graphical user interface or from web-based interfaces. The hardware interface layer is based on object-oriented programming concepts allowing easy addition and removal of hardware. Flexibility is achieved through an alias structure, the ability to write lists of commands into a macro, the ability to produce custom scans, and full scripting through an ActiveX interface with Python. User downloadable executables allow monitoring of the instrument status remotely and basic data analysis and visualization. The triple-axis version of SPICE incorporates a full UB-matrix implementation which can handle general crystal symmetry and movements out of the scattering plane. This program has been successfully running the HB1A, HB1 and HB3 triple-axis spectrometers at the High-Flux Isotope Reactor for over 1 year and is being extended to operate the powder diffractometer and wide-angle neutron diffractometer (WAND).

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