Python for Nuclear Experiments
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PyNE -- Python for Nuclear Experiments

PyNE is a package written during the end of my graduate career to support my analysis of my thesis data in a purely Python environment. Instead of using a suite such as ROOT (which has Python bindings), I wanted to avoid being locked into using a package that I knew I would not be using after graduate school. Additionally, the design and writing of this package allowed me to have complete control over what was included and improve my software engineering.

The package is divided into (currently) three subpackages, divided by their primary use and design requirements:

  • pyne provides basic datatypes
  • sap wraps up those datatypes in ways that are useful to minimize the amount of boilerplate code the scientist needs to write
  • tree collects target analysis codes together


Files out of the ADC are stored in .evt format, which must be processed before it can be used. An additional DAQ system in use at Notre Dame saves its files in the .Chn format. The processing for both of these file formats is based on the evt2root utility by Karl Smith.

For most uses, the scientist will not need to interact with these objects directly, aside from the top-level pyne.Data object.

SAP -- St. George Analysis Package

St. George experiments are currently performed with a single 16-strip Si detector, with full experiments also including two MCPs for timing signals. Some of the routines could be adapted for other experiments, but that is beyond the scope of this package.

  • display adds basic plotting functionality

TREE -- Target Response and Effect Environment

For determining target effects, one of the more common utilities is SRIM. While this package doesn't avoid the use of this program, it does attempt to make working with the files generate through SRIM easier for more complex studies common in nuclear astrophysics for reaction studies which are more difficult to do completely through SRIM.

For resonance scans especially, it is unfeasible to run SRIM to cover all possible energies that are required. Instead, by utilizing a few a few energies and locations within the target, you can get a pretty accurate view of the target effects to simulate a full reaction.