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Author: Michael Buettner

Importing Kratos Vision2 DSET Files into CasaXPS

Importing Kratos Vision2 DSET Files into CasaXPS

In our lab we use CasaXPS for data processing like quantification and depth profiles. It is a very powerful software with lots of features to suit everybody’s XPS needs. CasaXPS’s native file format is VAMAS, a standardized file format for spectroscopy applications. CasaXPS offers several import filters for most XPS manufacturers. It does not accept the .dset files created by Kratos Vision2, though. In order to get the Vision2 data into CasaXPS they have to be converted into .kal, a…

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Data Backup System for Lab Computers

Data Backup System for Lab Computers

One common challenge for research facilities that rely on computers for data acquisition and/or processing is proper data backup. On the one hand, any type of research equipment nowadays is controlled by a computer, sometimes with proprietary hardware to interface with the equipment and almost always with dedicated software shipped with the instrument. On the other hand, the original data taken with the equipment remains on the computer hard drive, which may become the only place the data is held….

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Analyzer Power Supply Problems

Analyzer Power Supply Problems

Ever since I set up and tested the Kratos Axis Ultra DLD in our lab I noticed infrequent fluctuations in signal intensity, especially right after starting a scan. This manifested itself by sudden intensity drops to zero while doing a survey scan. Some days later the smell of smoldering electronics filled the lab. I already suspected the analyzer power supply, so I opened it for inspection. It turned out one of the high voltage reed switches failed and current leaked…

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Installing Kratos Vision2 Data Acquisition Software on Windows 7

Installing Kratos Vision2 Data Acquisition Software on Windows 7

The software package that came with our Kratos Axis Ultra DLD XPS system, Vision2, is designed to be run on Windows XP. This OS is not supported anymore by Microsoft and it also becomes increasingly difficult to install on modern PCs, due to lack of drivers and incompatible hardware. One obvious route is to install everything in a virtual machine (VM). There are several software packages available, among others Oracle VirtualBox, VMWare Workstation Pro, and XPMode on VirtualPC, as offered…

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LabView Control Software for Rigaku Geigerflex XRD

LabView Control Software for Rigaku Geigerflex XRD

The original control software for our Rigaku Geigerflex XRD machine is DOS-based, with a rather non-intuitive text-based user interface. To be able to run this software on a modern computer requires installing DOS and the control program on a virtual machine (we used VirtualBOX). To get the data files out of the virtual machine environment a shared folder is used that holds the files and allows access from both DOS and the Windows 7 host system. All of this is…

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Visualizing Magnetic Domains with the NanoMOKE 3

Visualizing Magnetic Domains with the NanoMOKE 3

The NanoMOKE 3 software LXPro 3 has a function built in to image domains and their switching magnetization called 3D looping. For some of our users this measurement mode was not sufficient to catch the domains mid-switch as it happens very fast. You can observe the switching in almost live video by following these steps: Set fields to “manual fields” Set a saturation field Start imaging, select “Kerr Rotation” as display Right-click in the image area and select “Set as…

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Sanpla Dry Keeper Desiccator Repair

Sanpla Dry Keeper Desiccator Repair

The Sanpla Dry Keeper Automatic Desiccator uses a granular desiccant to dehumidify the inside of the cabinet to about 30-40 % RH. The desiccant is held in a basket equipped with  a heater for regeneration when saturation is reached. The instrument goes through a 30 min regeneration phase followed by about 4-5 hours of moisture removal. This cycle is controlled by a mechanical switch driven by an AC synchronous motor. The instrument in our lab didn’t work any more, meaning…

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Lowering the Temperature of Liquid Nitrogen

Lowering the Temperature of Liquid Nitrogen

  Liquid nitrogen (LN) is widely used in experiments where cryogenic temperatures are needed. The temperature of LN at 1 atm is 77.3 K. Some experiments might require temperatures slightly below this limit. In the phase diagram we are on the equilibrium line between the liquid and the gaseous phase. To push this equilibrium to lower temperatures, toward the triple point we need to lower the pressure. The equilibrium temperature at the triple point is 63.1 K. One way of…

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Troubleshooting the XRF Detector

Troubleshooting the XRF Detector

Some time ago we received donated equipment through the Laboratory Equipment Donation Program (LEDP, www.osti.gov/ledp/). It was a Kevex Omicron XRF machine. It was in very good shape and after setting up an old Windows 98 computer to run the control software, I began testing the instrument. The x-ray source seemed to work fine, but I just couldn’t receive any signal from the detector except some spurious counts that didn’t make any sense. I therefore took a closer look at the…

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Upgrading the MicroMag 2900 AGM Linear z-Slide

Upgrading the MicroMag 2900 AGM Linear z-Slide

The design of the MicroMag 2900 AGM has a few shortcomings. One of them is the linear z-slide mechanism that the instrument came initially equipped with. It is a Velmex Manual UniSlide (Model # SPA2509DM-S2.5, see picture) with Rapid Advance, scale, and Vernier. The slide features a limited fine adjustment by means of a clamping-like drive that can be engaged/disengaged by operating a lever (B). When engaged the slide is clamped onto the center rod (C) which can be fine…

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