McStas (ii): An overview of components, their use, and advice for user contributions

Peter Kjær Willendrup*, Kim Lefmann

*Corresponding author for this work

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A key element of the success of McStas is the component layer where users and developers alike are contributing to the description of new physical models and features. In McStas, components realise all physical elements of the simulated instrument from source via optics and samples to detector. In this second review paper of the McStas package, we present an overview of the component classes in McStas: sources, monitors, optics, samples, misc, and contrib. Within each component class we give thorough examples of high-quality components, including their algorithms and example use. We present two example instruments, one for a continuous source and one for a time-of-flight source, that together demonstrate the use of the main component classes. Finally, we give tips and instructions that will allow the reader to write good components and elucidate the pathway of contributing new components to McStas.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Neutron Research
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)7-27
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • McStas
  • Neutron ray-tracing simulation
  • Neutron instrumentation


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