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A common question for new GISAXS users is: "What software can I use to analyze my data?" Unfortunately, there is no single package that will allow you to perform any possible analysis. This is in part due to the diversity of possible kinds of data analysis one might want to do on GISAXS or GIWAXS images. The following lists a variety of packages that are available.

Data Viewing, Reduction, and Simple Analysis

These packages provide ways to view data, and perform simple operations (linecuts, etc.).

Geared towards 2D data

Geared towards 1D data

Data Modeling and Fitting

These packages can predict scattering curves for various possible nano- or molecular- structures. Some of the packages allow fitting of experimental data.






Wave/Matter interaction


These software packages directly simulation the propagation of an EM field, and/or the interaction between EM waves and material:

  • SRW (Synchrotron Radiation Workshop): Fast numerical simulation of near-field and far-field of radiation generated by electron beams traveling through magnetic fields. I.e. can be used to simulate x-ray emission from synchrotron sources (e.g. undulator).
  • Shadow: X-ray optics simulation package for coherent x-ray wavefront propagation simulations​​.
  • WPG (WavePropaGator): Software package for simulating coherent and partially coherent X-ray wavefront propagation, especially intended for simulating XFEL

General EM field

Computing Materials Properties


  • SILX: Data reading/writing for synchrotron data formats.
  • BlueSky: Instrument control, including data saving into a database and access via databroker.


  • SciStreams: Simple workflow/pipeline software (building on Dask and Streams), intended for asynchronous and distributed computations at a beamline.
  • ParaView: Generalized GUI for visualizing scientific data, such as 3D images (uses Python and QT).
  • Mantid: Framework for computing and visualizing materials science data.
    • Official site.
    • Citation: O. Arnold, et al., Mantid—Data analysis and visualization package for neutron scattering and μSR experiments, Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research Section A, Volume 764, 11 November 2014, Pages 156-166. doi: 10.1016/j.nima.2014.07.029
  • DAWN (Data Analysis WorkbeNch): An application (based on Eclipse) for general scientific data analysis. It is mainly developed by the Diamond Light Source and is well-optimized for analysis of x-ray data, including SAXS-specific features.


It is of course possible to code your own software for modeling or fitting scattering data. This is not as difficult as it may at first seem. The fundamental scattering equations are well-known (c.f. scattering, Fourier transform, Form Factor, Structure Factor, Lattice Factor), and can be brute-force solved numerically. Or, they can be solved (or simplified) analytically for a particular case. Many modern programming languages provide libraries for numerical integration, fitting, minimizing multi-dimensional parameter spaces, etc. (e.g. Python is particularly clean and powerful).

See Also