Resources / Education

Manuals and User Guides

Here you will find practical manuals for most basic measurement or measurement geometries. These manuals do not replace instrument training, and are meant as reminders. If you think anything should be added, just drop as a mail.

Data access: please refer to our wiki.

PhD Courses

The facility gives two courses within the EDCH program of the Doctoral School of EPFL, which cover basic theory of most methods as well as practical parts. These courses are awarded with 2 ECTS credits each, and are open to all students. Students enrolled in the PhD program will be prioritized with respect to PostDocs, if the number of places is limited.

Basic theoretical aspects of Crystallography and the interaction between X-ray radiation and matter. Experimental aspects of materials-oriented powder and single crystal diffraction. Familiarization with modern X-ray diffractometers.

State-of-the-art surface/thin film characterization methods of polycrystalline/nano/amorphous materials. Selected topics from thin film X-ray diffraction (GIWAXS, GISAXS, PDF, XRR), electronic and optical spectroscopy (XPS, AES, SERS, TERS), scanning probe and electron microscopy (STM, AFM, HRTEM, SEM).



Software for X-ray Diffraction


CSD       Database for organic (and metal-organic) compounds. CSD license (including all tools, such as Mercury) for EPF-users. Access is given through IP-recognition, if you are not located at the EPF you need to connect through vpn. (to obtain license contact us)

ICDD (PDF)     PDF-4+ for inorganic materials. License located locally on PC’s at EPFL VS in the diffraction lab. Links into EVA for search and match.

ICSD     Database for inorganic compounds. Access granted to EPF-members, if you are not located at the EPF, establish vpn connection first.

COD     Crystallography open database, free. Can be linked into EVA for search and match, how to is explained in the wiki.

Structure Visualization (and related)

VESTA      Particularly useful for inorganic materials, density maps, vectorial representations

Mercury    Useful for crystal drawings of organic and metalorganic crystal structures, visualization of voids, surfaces… ETH-license available, also for CSD (contact us).


Single Crystal Diffraction

Data Reduction

CrysAlis (Rigaku)     Data reduction on Lausanne diffractometers, freeware obtainable upon registration. Download through through the user forum, which is very worthwhile taking a look at.

APEX3 (Bruker)     Data reduction on Sion diffractometers, available through Gaspar login on our server.

Data Treatment

SHELX     Popular program suite (freeware) for analysis of small molecule as well as macromolecular structures. Can be run stand alone or (more comfortable) called through GUIs such as WinGX or Olex2 (see below).

Olex2     Very simple to use and intuitive interface to the ShelX suite, also links to Platon, Superflip and others. Available for free.

ShelXle     Another enjoyable and intuitive interface to the ShelX suite, along with a useful editor that recognizes ShelX input file language. Available for free.

JANA     Great software for more sophisticated cases such as modulated or incommensurate structures, analysis of diffuse diffuse scatering, detailed application of charge flipping (also for powders).


Powder Diffraction

PowDLL    Conversion of powder diffraction raw data formats capable of handling most common file formats.

FOX     Intuitive freeware to apply direct space methods to structure solution from powder diffraction.

Topas     Full Rietveld refinement either through GUI or more powerful input through Topas macro language. Simulated annealing is also available for structure solution. Available for EPFL users through Gaspar login on our server. Site license, VPN and CodeMeter required. Schools are offered on a yearly basis.

FullProf     Full Rietveld refinement, freeware. Magnetic refinements can be performed from neutron data, structure solution available for atomic and magnetic structures through simulated annealing. Schools are offered on a yearly basis.

GSAS     GSAS suite for Rietveld refinement, utilities similar to FullProf, freeware.

EXPO     Structure solution from powders in both direct and reciprocal space (using direct methods).

PDFgui     Total scattering software. GUI for the PDFfit2 refinement program, atomic pair distribution function analysis incuding data reduction and data modeling, for X-ray and neutron data.

Superflip     Charge-flipping for structure solution, stand alone script.

EVA     Basic Bruker data visualization and manipulation software, includes search and match procedure, available to EPFL users from our server.

     CCP14 (Collaborative Computation Project Number 14). Repository of freely available software for single crystal and powder diffraction.


X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy


CasaXPS Complete XPS data analysis software. Site license available for the EPFL community. To obtain the credentials, contact Mounir Mensi. Relative sensitivity factor database for Kratos Axis Supra available through Gaspar login on our server. Excellent tutorials available on the youtube channel of CasaXPS

ESCApe: Proprietary XPS data analysis software from Kratos. Allows convenient and easy data fitting, quantification and more. Available through Gaspar login on our server, for trained users only. Don’t forget to follow the installation procedure. You haven’t been granted the access to the server: drop an email to Mounir Mensi 

Databases and references

XPSFitting webpage from Surface Science Western: Excellent and very well referenced database. Advanced references for complex fittings.

XPS reference table of elements, from Thermo-Fisher. Accessible database presenting XPS spectra of the most common chemical states of each elements. 

NIST database Binding energies of a very large set of molecules. Useful search engine, by binding energy, kinetic energy, element, etc