About the InstitutThe Institut des NanoSciences de Paris (INSP) is a joint CNRS and Pierre and Marie Curie University research centre. Founded in January 2005, the Institute brings together teams from four laboratories of condensed matter physics to one site on the Jussieu campus.
The research at the INSP aims to identify and understand the new properties that arise when physical phenomena are confined within objects that are smaller than their characteristic lengthscale. In particular research is centred on the control and measurement of the interface between these small objects and their surrounding environment.
The INSP brings together a broad spectrum of expertise, both in fabrication techniques (growth of aggregates, self-organization, molecular beam epitaxy, laser ablation, lithography…) and in characterization methods (high resolution spectroscopy-microscopy, local probetechniques, fast and multicharged ion sources, numerical simulations … ). The close collaboration between researchers from fields as diverse as atomic and molecular physics, condensed matter physics, optics, acoustics or chemistry, makes the INSP a unique environment for the experimental and theoretical study of science at the nanoscale.
Director of the Institute: Christophe Testelin, CNRS director of research.
About your ApplicationI have several applications, all of which are involved with displaying data obtained from ion beam analysis measurements using a small Van de Graaff particle accelerator.
Codes I have that use TeeChart are :
SPACES : a code that uses autoconvolutions and the stochastic theory of charged particle energy loss in matter to simulate the excitation curves obtained around narrow nuclear cross-section resonances, and compare the simulation with experimentally observed excitation curves
R33Manager : a code that can read and write nuclear reaction cross sections in the ‘R33’ format, and also display them of course.
INSPector : a code for displaying charged particle energy distributions for many different formats, with energy scale calibration, curve comparison and so on.
(Note : there are many codes around that can do this – the big programs like Origin or Igor; a plethora of proprietary codes that are supplied or sold with nuclear spectrsocpy equipement, and even excel with some VBA programming, but the advantage my code has is that it is dedicated to just one application, and does that very efficiently).
DPPRunner : a code for displaying and manipulating waveforms obtained from all-numerical nuclear pulse-processing systems
OSquasher : a code for re-formatting spectra obtained from all-numerical nuclear spectroscopy hardware.
Note that none of these codes is stable: I have too few users to put in place a proper version management scheme and sometimes make small changes for a specific user (who could just be the person in the office next to mine!). The codes are not downloadable – if anybody wants them then they email me and I just send them an installation. The most well-known code is SPACES – it is famous in its own right, but so specialised that there are less than a dozen users around the world.
Why did you choose TeeChart?I chose TeeChart because it was free with Rad Studio (and the various previous incarnations – I forget when exactly TeeChart came, but I have been using the Borland IDEs since the pre-windows days of Turbo-Pascal!) – and also because I found it to be easy to integrate into my code, easy to understand at least the basic aspects of using it for what in my case are quite modest graphics requirements, and remarkably bug-free, at least in the parts of TeeChart that I have used.
Describe a specific project challenge your company overcame using TeeChartThe specific project challenge that TeeChart helped me overcome, was integration of modern user-friendly graphics into programs that in some cases have evolved continuously over many years from Fortan command-line applications into fully ‘windowized’ graphics applications. When windows came out, I initially started writing my own graphics code using just the windows API – but that was awful – a huge learning curve and major investment of time with only very mediocre results to show for it in the end.
My main job is to do physics – not write graphics code! The use of TeeChart makes it possible for me to include pretty professional graphics in codes with so few users that it would not be worth the effort without an efficient tool like TeeChart.
What benefits have you experienced from using TeeChart?The benefits of using teechart are multiple. Getting a basic x-y graph is just a few clicks and populating the datasets just a few lines of code. No need to worry about canvases, view-ports, machine dependant resolution and so on (although from what I have seen looking at the properties of the TChart object some of these deeper level structures can also be accessed and manipulated … if you dare!). But Teechart offers much more – all of the zooming and scaling options; cursors and other tools; printing; saving to the clipboard and exporting graphics files in many formats. These are really useful when the codes are used, but the biggest benefit for me is the time saved dealing with all the house-keeping of my graphical data display, freeing my time up to concentrate on the simulation code which has to be efficient and bug-free. A corollary is that when I get a suggestion from somebody that it would nice to have a cursor here, or display data values there it is very easily coded – which means that although there are only a small number of users, they are very satisfied!
I am sure that I am only using a small subset of TeeChart – as is also the case when using Word or Excel – but as time goes on I sometimes experiment a little and learn about new possibilities or cleaner ways of getting done what I need to get done. I have explored some aspects of 3D plotting, but have not yet found how to do that efficiently enough – it is too slow for the use I have in mind. There are also a vast array of graph types other than the simple x-y scatter and line plots that I use – plus data fitting and many other possibilities… one benefit of using TeeChart is that I know that if one day I need such possibilities I probably won’t have to change my programming palette.
A final benefit is that there is now quite a lot of discussion available on the web. I often use google to check out something like ‘Teechart series invisible mouse button’ or whatever – and most often end up finding something relevant quite quickly.
Institut des NanoSciences de Paris (INSP)