Using McStas for modelling complex optics, using simple building bricks

Peter Kjær Willendrup, Linda Udby, Erik Bergbäck Knudsen, Emmanuel Farhi, Kim Lefmann

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


    The McStas neutron ray-tracing simulation package is a versatile tool for producing accurate neutron simulations, extensively used for design and optimization of instruments, virtual experiments, data analysis and user training. In McStas, component organization and simulation flow is intrinsically linear: the neutron interacts with the beamline components in a sequential order, one by one. Historically, a beamline component with several parts had to be implemented with a complete, internal description of all these parts, e.g. a guide component including all four mirror plates and required logic to allow scattering between the mirrors. For quite a while, users have requested the ability to allow “components inside components” or meta-components, allowing to combine functionality of several simple components to achieve more complex behaviour, i.e. four single mirror plates together defining a guide. We will here show that it is now possible to define meta-components in McStas, and present a set of detailed, validated examples including a guide with an embedded, wedged, polarizing mirror system of the Helmholtz–Zentrum Berlin type.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalNuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research Section A: Accelerators, Spectrometers, Detectors and Associated Equipment
    Issue numberSuppl. 1
    Pages (from-to)S150-S155
    Publication statusPublished - 2011


    • Materials and energy storage
    • Superconducting materials

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