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McStas is an open source software simulator for neutron scattering instruments and experiments. The software consists of a compiler that translates instrument and component definitions to C code.

McStas is based on a compiler that reads a high-level specification language defining the instrument to be simulated and produces C code that performs the Monte Carlo Simulation. The system is very fast in use, both when setting up the instrument definition and when doing calculations.

McStas is based on a unique design where an automatic compilation process translates high-level textual instrument descriptions into efficient ANSI-C code. This design makes it simple to set up typical simulations and also gives essentially unlimited freedom to handle more unusual cases.

 McStas 2.1

Free to download



Risų / ILL / KU


System Requirements

VRML viewer (e.g. FreeWRL)

Manual, FAQ, Mailing List, Tutorial, Facebook

Selected Reviews:

Features include:

  • Very fast in use
  • Supports triple-axis
  • Supports time-of-flight instruments
  • Supports polarised neutrons
  • Library of well-tested components that include most standard elements of neutron scattering instruments, including steady-state and pulsed sources, monochromators/analysers, guides, collimators, vanadium and powder samples, velocity selectors and choppers, and a variety of detectors
  • Generates histograms (tallies) as formatted (easy to read) text files. Such text files may be read by the McStas internal plotter using PGPLOT, but also using Matlab, Scilab, VRML/HTML (web page), HDF/NeXus, XML/NeXus, Octave, IDL and more
  • Comprehensive manual

McStas in action

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Last Updated Monday, May 26 2014 @ 11:08 AM EDT

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