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Control Software


In brief

The software is running on the MSB-SLAVE computer and it controls the position and angles of the prefocusing mirror. The most important movements are:
  • J1 (vertical direction; roll) to be set to the maximum intensity passing through the entrance slit (because it is horizontal).
  • J2 (horizontal direction; pitch) to be set to put the photon beam to the center of the exit slit (best alignment of the whole beamline).
The positions are set using the Command line using the syntax move j1 value or move j2 value followed by Enter or Send button.

If the movement gets blocked click on Stop button.

If the MSB-SLAVE computer is stuck reboot it by reset button. The BeamLine software will start automatically after the reboot.

For instructions see Setting the beam position.

Further details

Originally this software controlled both prefocusing mirror and monochromator, i.e. the whole beamline, therefore some of the features are not active anymore (PM/PG and related).

Other controlled movements of the prefocusing mirror are Z1/Z2 (heights) and PAL/PAU (polarization apertures lower/upper). The command syntax is the same as for J1/J2.

All movements of the prefocusing mirror are controlled by servomotors and the position reported in the BeamLine software comes from the incremental rotary encoders (IRC305 manufactured by LARM). Moreover, each movement has 3 optical sensors defining 2 end stops (limits) and 1 reference mark. Status is as following:
  • red color: encoder failure
  • L/H: movement is at low//high limit
  • –/R: movement is below/above the reference mark
  • percentage of the maximum power on the motor
The software accepts commands from the MSB-MASTER computer via serial port. Therefore all commands can be send also from Kleopatra console or PrefocusConsole in the Kleopatra sofware. This communication is visible in Serial connection input/output fields.

Lists of all accepted commands can be downloaded here for local console and remote console.

Beamline Control System (BCS)

In brief

The BCS provides a webpage interface which can be accessed from all computers connected to the Elettra network at http://adam.elettra.eu/projects/blcs/beamwatch/061/msb_main.bwh. It shows the current electron beam parameters, layout of the beamline, status of the valves (green = closed, red = open) and pressures in the vacuum chambers.

Moreover, opening the webpage on the MSB-MASTER and MSB-STATION computers permitis to operate the 10 electropneumatic valves labelled with numbers in the screenshot above.

The most useful information and valve operations are mirrored into the Kleopatra software.

For instructions see Opening and closing the beamline.

If the webpage does not open proceed with Troubleshooting - BCS communication problem.

Further details

The webpage automatically refreshes every 40 seconds. If you need to refresh the information immediately user the FORCE REFRESH link or the Reload button of your web browser.

Logging system contains changes in every parameter or status.

Color coding of the beamline elements is:
  • green: normal operation
  • yellow: warning but still safe
  • red: failure or risk
  • blue: communication error, and therefore status unknown
The pressures are read from the gauge controllers in the front-end rack and the left beamline rack. Bear in mind that the displayed gauge in the analysis chamber is the coarse cold-cathode and NOT the precise ionization gauge that we read in the experimental rack, so the readings might differ.

Other information that is available on the webpage:
  • status of the water cooling circuits of the prefocusing mirror, entrance slit and monochromator (plain mirror + plane grating) by clicking on the Water system link): normal flux, not much flux or no flux
  • status of the ion pumps by clicking on the corresponding vacuum chambers as read from the corresponding power supplies in the front-end and 2 beamline racks.
Any parameter available on the BCS webpage can be logged and graphically displayed using the Pressure Watcher software (e.g. pressure in the monochromator or in the analysis chamber).

Mesh Monitor

In brief

This software acquires the data from the 8-channel A/D converter card (National Instruments PCI-6023E) installed in the MSB-MASTER computer. It displays the trend of the data in its graphical user interface and it forwards them to the Kleopatra software. We mostly use only channel 2 where the amplified photoelectric current from the gold mesh placed in the beam line is connected. The resulting number reflects the photon flux that serves for intensity calibration.

The reading is averaged over 1 second period. On the graph there are also tags on every photon energy change and the value averaged since the last tuning up to the following one. The displayed history is as long as selected by View last button. The graph can be also manipulated by mouse as following:
  • zoom by left-click dragging from top left to bottom right
  • unzoom by left-click dragging from right to left
  • pan by right-click dragging
For instructions see Photoemission with synchrotron radiation (EDC).

Further details

The A/D converter range is ± 10 V.

The channel 5 is usually used for reading the current measured by the Keithley picoampermeter that can be e.g. sample current during total-electron-yield NEXAFS or photodiode current for beamline calibration.

The software controls are as following:
subtract offset values defined in the .ini file
start acquision
stop acquisition
clear acquired values
save acquired values into an ASCII file
oscilloscope on the selected channel
show energy tags
show averaged value tags
show custom tags
start new averaging
stop averaging
add new custom tag

Commands for remote control are written in About/Help.


In brief

Kleopatra running on the MSB-MASTER computer is handling the communication between the beamline and the end station. The most important user operations are highlighted in the screenshot above, namely opening and closing the electropneumatic valves, setting the photon energy and reading the mesh current.

Further details

Kleopatra is the central control software of the beamline, as can be seen in the following schemes:

The layout of the main Kleopatra window is shown here:

Connect and Disconnect buttons handle the connection to all other programs listed in the scheme. Scans button will be described below. MonoConsole and PrefocusConsole provide consoles for communication with the monochromator (MONO Server on the MSB-MONO computer) and prefocusing mirror (BeamLine software on the MSB-SLAVE computer), respectively. ComServerLog and TcpServerLog show communication with SpecsLab2 and KolXPD, both on the MSB-STATION computer.

The Prefocus section of Kleopatra shows the J1 (roll) and J2 (pitch) positions of the prefocusing mirror. AutoRoll button provides a procedure for automatic setting of J1 (roll) to the maximum of the photon flux, as described in Setting the beam position.

Kleopatra console section provides a simple console for basic commands for all related instruments. Kleopatra automatically forwards the command to the correct software and shows its Answer. The commands are:

parameter get value set value software note
time gettime Kleopatra MSB-MASTER computer time
J1 getj1 move j1 value BeamLine
(+ other
prefocus roll
J2 getj2 move j2 value prefocus pitch
PAU getpau move pau value prefocus polarization aperture upper
PAL getpal move pal value prefocus polarization aperture lower
Z1 getz1 move z1 value prefocus height 1
Z2 getz2 move z2 value prefocus height 2
state getstate MONO Server monochromator status
energy getenergy setenergy value monochromator energy
cff getcff setcff value monochromator cff
PM getpm setpm value monochromator plain mirror
PG getpg setpg value monochromator plane grating
mc getmc Mesh Monitor mesh current
p1 getp1 BCS shutter pressure
p2 getp2 prefocus presure
p3 getp3 monochromator pressure
p4 getp4 analysis chamber pressure

The SnapShots section of Kleopatra allows to log the parameters from the table above into the selected File, either on each press of the Make SnapShot button or Cyclically with the time period set in the .ini file.

All features related to the monochromator are in the Energy section. Namely Nominal Cff (which will be used for tuning), real Cff (calculated from the position of PM and PG), actual photon energy, position of PM and PG in microradians and counts on the encoders, status of the PM and PG axes (still/moving, reaching forward/reverse limit switches, position at the index mark and collision of PM with PG detected by the collision switch). Below one can refresh the values from the MONO Server software (Reload once or Cyclical reload), Copy the actual positions of energy, PM and PG into the corresponding fields, move the monochromator to the chosen position (setEnergy for both PM and PG, setPM or setPG) and STOP all movements in the case of wrong or risky setting.

The MeshMonitor section contains the measured or averaged outputs of the 8 channels of the A/D converter card (numbered 0 to 7) provided by the Mesh Monitor software. Mesh current (mc) from channel 2 is shown with larger font. Doubleclick on this field will maximize the view of photon energy, mc and information from the BCS.

In the BCS Info section some of the parameters from the BCS are shown, refreshed every 40 seconds. Namely the status of the 10 electropneumatic valves of the front-end and of the beamline, storage ring electron beam current, energy and lifetime, and the 4 pressures p1-p4 from the table above. Hovering above any item will display its description. Doubleclick will open the corresponding subpage of BCS, in the case of valves with the possibility to open/close them.

Color coding of the valves

valve open and can be closed
valve closed and can be open
valve closed and cannot be open because of control room interlock
status unknown (wait for information to be refreshed) or BCS failure

Color coding of other items

  • green: normal operation
  • yellow: warning but still safe
  • red: failure or risk
  • blue: communication error, and therefore status unknown

The bottom line of Kleopatra shows status of the connected services and their communication.


This feature allows to perform a time-, energy-, PM-, PG-, PAU-, PAL-, J1-, J2-, Z1- or Z2 scan of the 8 channels of the A/D converter card (averaged over 200 ms or 1 s time) while logging also some other parameters obtained from BCS. Range From - To, Step and Pause after each acquired data point can be set. The selected parameters are Shown in the graph below. All parameters are automatically saved in the folder D:\Users\Libra\Mono\Kleopatra\Scans under a filename containg the actual date and time. Typically it is used for an energy scan of the photon flux measured by a photodiode, see the result.


As the beamline (mainly monochromator, and the electropneumatic valves) is mostly operated from the MSB-MASTER computer while the end station from the MSB-STATION computer, it would not be comfortable to move physically from one computer to another. Therefore the MSB-MASTER computer can be operated from the MSB-STATION computer using VNC (Virtual Network Computing) client providing a sort of remote desktop.


In brief

This software serves for photoemission data acquisition and it was developed by Specs, the manufacturer of the electron energy analyzer. We use it for sample alignment and for recording the energy distribution curves (EDCs) of photoelectrons excited by X-ray source and synchrotron radiation. For photoemission measurements of larger datasets where the photon energy is equidistantly scanned or where the sample manipulator is automatically moved we use the KolXPD software.

Further details

Complete software manual is available here.


In brief

This software was developed by Jiří Libra. The basic features include those available in SpecsLab2 but, in addition, it contains modules for automated data acquisition during photon energy equidistant scans (XAS, CIS, NEXAFS, RPES) scans and angular scans of the sample manipulator (ARPES, XPD). Moreover, we use it also for advanced processing of the EDC XPS/SRXPS data acquired in SpecsLab2.

Further details

The complete software manual of KolXPD does not exist yet. A partial version is available here. Quick Users Guide written by Igor Píš can be downloaded here. Useful information can be found on the product website, too.

Eurotherm iTools

In brief

This software pernits to control the Eurtherm 3508 unit that is used for measuring the sample temperature during annealing or cooling and control the power supply used for sample annealing.

The most important features are labelled in the screenshot above
  • Connect the software to the unit: Scan - OK. The device Sample.192-168-16-10-502-ID002-3508 will appear in the list of devices and synchronized in about 1 minute.
  • Display the Device panel. You can then push the buttons in the software equally to the physical unit.
  • Change units between °C and K: in the parameter tree on the left side look for Instrument - Options - Units, change to DegC or Kelvin and confirm.
    (The units can be changed also by hardware buttons.)
  • Display the temperature trend: open OPC Scope, then File - Open - T.UIX and confirm.
  • Program the annealing sequence: open Programmer and add/remove/modify segments.

    For operating the program see Sample annealing.
  • Disconnect the software: close iTools.

Further details

The complete software manual is available here. The manual of the Eurotherm 3508 unit is here.


In brief

Quadstar Measure is the software confrolling the quadrupole mass spectrometer.

The menu Setup - SEM/Emission Control allows to switch on/off the filament (Emission) and the multiplier high voltage (SEM) if the pressure is sufficiently low:

The most frequently used scan is started in the menu by Scan - Analog and opening the parameter file SCAF.SAP for Faraday cup detector (high pressures) or SCAC.SAP for the multiplier (low pressures):

Linear or Logaritmic intensity scale can be chosen by Parameters - Setup:

Scan parameter are then chosen in Parameters - Channel. The most important ones are mass range (Mass) and intensity range (Display - Disp. F.S.R.):

The scans can be saved using File - Save cycle data into .sac files. These files can be open in another software Dispsav (Open data) and Converted to ASCII .asc files that can be then imported into common spreadsheet software like Excel, Origin or Igor.

Further details

Complete software manual is available here.


In brief

KolLEED is used for acquisition and saving of LEED patterns acquired by a CCD camera (EHD KamPro02) and digitalized using the framegrabber card (NI PCI-1407).

Further details

The software is written in LabView. Its controls are as following:

Browser card:

Pictures on row affects the thumbnails number.
Smart/Inverse/Color defines the image view.
Folder where the images will be loaded or saved.
Load folder with all its contains.
Save selected image into the folder.
Clear browser clears the list below.
Save with palette saves the images with the actual palette, otherwise in grayscale.
Analyze selected image allows some spot analysis.

Acquire card:

Snap acquires one single snapshot from the camera.
Grab/Stop starts/stops continuous acquisition.
Smart/Inverse/Color defines the image view.
1-10 selector affects the contrast.
Averaging averages the number of consecutive acquired imager over the Avg Length which reduces noise but slows down the view.
Get background acquires the actual images and subtracts it from all images acquired after that.
Clear background cancels the background subtraction.
Add To Browser saves the image into the browser; these images will appear in the list below as <untitled_> where they can be browsed, deleted or saved into files.

Pressure Watcher

In brief

This software logs and graphically displays values available through BCS webpage, most typically pressure of the cold-cathode gauge in the analysis chamber. The reading happens in the specified time Interval [s] (minimum is 5 seconds). The logged data can be Cleared and Saved in ASCII format. The total Exposure calculated in langmuirs (1 L = 10-6 Torr × s) is shown.

The graph can be manipulated by mouse as following:
  • zoom by left-click dragging from top left to bottom right
  • unzoom by left-click dragging from right to left
  • pan by right-click dragging
For a typical use see Exposing the sample with gases.

Further details

The software can be used for logging any values available on webpages, as defined in the Settings. These settings can be stored in .ini files (Save settings) and loaded when needed (Load settings).

For calibration of the calculation of the total exposure the read pressure values can be lowered by the set Base pressure [Torr] and multiplied by the Multiplicative constant.

Pfeiffer Vacuum ActiveLine

This software is used for displaying and logging the pressures shown on the TPG366 controller in the left experimental rack. The six channels represent:

  1. Analysis chamber (cold cathode gauge)
  2. Preparation chamber - top (full range gauge)
  3. Preparation chamber - bottom (cold cathode gauge)
  4. Load lock (full range gauge)
  5. Electrochemical cell - UHV and nitrogen (full range gauge)
  6. Electrochemical cell - argon (capacitance gauge)
The software is connected to the instrument by using Data Transmission - Serial Port - COM10 for the TPG366 controller. Then the measurement is started by Data Transmission - Start measuring. Logging of the data into a file is then started by Data - Save.


In brief

This software reads and logs the temperature acquired by infrared pyrometers and also help to align the sample using the integrated camera.

Further details

manuals: pyrometers, software

LuCam Capture

In brief

This software displays the image from the USB camera Teledyne/Lumenera Lu205CB that can be installed on the viewport of the electron analyzer, in order to help the proper sample alignment.

MSB-MONO Server and Client

In brief

This software controls the position of the optical elements of the monochromator. plain mirror (PM} and plain grating (PG). Server is performing all operations while Client provides graphical user interface.

Energy and cff can be set from the window opened by clicking on the Energy button in the client:

The position of both axes can be controlled from the Direct Axis Control window opened by clicking on the Axis button in the client. As units you can choose counts on the position encoder or angle in microradians:

The Find Index subwindow is used for finding the reference marks if the monochromator appears to be miscalibrated and for unblocking the collision switch if the optical elements are in mutual collision (that can happen e.g. when setting very low photon energies).

For these service operations the Service Mode must be selected by clicking by clicking on the Config - Mode button in the client.

If the monochromator keeps appearing miscalibrated although the reference marks are ok a calibration must be performed. Usually only one parameter is to be modified, Axis 1 Offset, count. Enter a modified value, click on Set and then Save Parameters.

Further details

Complete manual of the monochromator and the related software is available here.

Last Updated on Thursday, 25 March 2021 11:33