An MML researcher has developed a new set of data analysis tools for X-ray Absorption Spectroscopy (XAS). In August, a new version of “ifeffit”, a multi-platform, open-source XAS data analysis software package, was released. Along with performance enhancements for the Windows platform, this release included several significant functional improvements, including integrated documentation, user interface enhancements, and improved stability. This software effort reaches a world-wide audience: The mailing list devoted to technical and scientific support of the software has nearly 500 subscribers from 32 countries.
XAS is a synchrotron-based structural analysis tool with broad applicability to many scientific disciplines, including materials and chemical sciences, as well as geophysics, biochemistry, environmental science, and many other fields. The energy dependent interaction of the intense synchrotron X-ray beam with matter is measured and analyzed to yield element-specific information about atomic configuration. Because XAS makes no assumptions of symmetry or periodicity, this analytical tool can be applied to perform nano-scale structural measurements of condensed matter in all forms. Such measurements enable development of advanced materials with new or improved properties that derive from nanostructural features.
The new release reflects a long, continuing collaborative effort with the researchers at the University of Chicago in the development of the software. In addition, the software developments are made in conjunction with extensive outreach efforts in the form of XAS short courses at four synchrotrons held during the summer and fall of 2008. These courses at the National Synchrotron Light Source, the Advanced Photon Source, the Canadian Light Source, and the Swiss Light Source introduced the software to over 130 scientists, the majority being graduate students and post-doctoral fellows.
More information about the ifeffit package of XAS data analysis software can be found at its website: http://cars9.uchicago.edu/iffwiki/Ifeffit.