SIMION®
The field and particle trajectory simulator
Industry standard charged particle optics software
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Chapter 1. SIMION Overview (SIMION® 8.0 User Manual)

SIMION® 8.0 User Manual. 

SIMION® 8 (c) 2003-2008 Scientific Instrument Services, Inc. All Rights Reserved. SIMION 7 (c) 2005 Battelle Energy Alliance, LLC (BEA) on behalf of Idaho National Labs (INL). (c) 2000 Bechtel BWXT Idaho, LLC on behalf of Idaho National Labs (INL).

Printed in the United States of America.

Author: David Manura, Scientific Instrument Services, Inc. (SIMION 8, 2006-2008). David A. Dahl, Idaho National Laboratory (SIMION 7, 2000).

No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means--electronic, mechanical, photocopying, or otherwise—without the prior written permission of the publisher.

US GOVERNMENT.  The United States Government is granted for itself and others acting on its behalf, a paid-up nonexclusive, irrevocable worldwide license in SIMION 7.0 to reproduce, prepare derivative works and perform publicly and display publicly. NEITHER THE U.S. NOR THE U.S. NOR THE U.S. DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY, NOR ANY OF THEIR EMPLOYEES, MAKES ANY WARRANTY, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, OR ASSUMES ANY LEGAL LIABILITY OR RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE ACCURACY, COMPLETENESS, OR USEFULNESS OF ANY INFORMATION, APPARATUS, PRODUCT OR PROCESS DISCLOSED; OR REPRESENTS THAT ITS USE WOULD NOT INFRINGE PRIVATELY OWNED RIGHTS.

SIMION 7.0 resulted from work developed under Government Contract No. DE-AC07-99ID13727 at the Idaho National Laboratory (INL) and is subject to a Limited Government License. This work was supported by the U.S. Department of Energy INEEL (INL) internal research funds and by the Division of Chemical Sciences, Basic Energy Sciences, Office of Science, Department of Energy under contract 3ED102.

DISCLAIMER.  These programs are provided "as is." It is the user's responsibility to determine the suitability of this material for any application. There is no expressed or implied warranty of any kind with regard to these programs nor the supplemental documentation. In no event shall the authors, Scientific Instrument Services, Inc., BEA, or the U.S. Government or any agency thereof be liable for incidental or consequential damages in connection with or arising out of the furnishing, performance or use of any of these programs.


Chapter 1. SIMION Overview

Introduction

SIMION 8.0 is a native Windows (Win32) ion optics simulation program that models ion optics problems with 2D symmetrical and/or 3D asymmetrical electrostatic and/or magnetic potential arrays. It incorporates an ion optics workbench strategy that allows you to size, orient, and position up to 200 instances (3D images - or mirages) of these potential arrays within a workbench volume of up to 8 cubic km. Complex systems or even entire instruments can be modeled. Ions can be flown singly or in groups, displayed as lines or flying dots, and automatically be re-flown to provide movie effects when needed. Other features include data recording, charge repulsion, user programs, and geometry files. The result is a program that can model a wide range of problems including: ion source and detector optics, time-of-flight instruments, ion traps, quadrupoles, ICR cells, or what have you.

No program can be all things to all people. SIMION is intended to provide direct and highly interactive methods for simulating a wide variety of general ion optics problems. The program balances of ease-of-use, speed, and accuracy to enable it to support many real-world applications. For example, it has successfully simulated the Phi-Evans TRIFT instrument using voltages that are within a few percent of the as-built instrument, and hundreds of papers have utilized SIMION. Even if you just use it as a scoping tool (saving the hard-to-use heavy artillery for later), it can provide useful insights into your problems and perhaps help speed you toward your final goal.

The Simulation Trap

Any simulation is only as good as the understanding that goes into it (e.g. garbage in garbage out). I have witnessed many distressing examples of SIMION being used in blind faith. Just because you manage to get a few ions through doesn't mean the design's OK. Are the ions truly representative? Are the fields modeled at all realistically? Do you really understand the physics of your problem? Just because a program is easy-to-use, DON'T assume it thinks for you! You may get excited about a new concept, but wait until the design is built and tested successfully before declaring victory! ALWAYS BE SUSPICIOUS!

Important

Any simulation is only as good as the understanding that goes into it. Just because a program is easy-to-use, DON'T assume it thinks for you!

Computer Requirements/Installation

This version of SIMION will run on most any system with a Windows-compatible operating system and Intel-compatible CPU. See Appendix A for detailed system requirements and recommendations, including Linux support. Large simulations will require lots of RAM (e.g. 100MB up to 2GB). Appendix B provides installation instructions).

Note

Large simulations require lots of RAM.

Note to Users of Prior SIMION Versions

There's a lot of new things in SIMION 8, such as faster calculations, higher limits, new particle definition and Lua user programming capabilities, batch mode operation, SL capabilities (STL CAD model import and SL Libraries for programmatic PA manipulation), and new examples—to name a few. See Appendix N for a summary of the differences.

Attention SIMION 7 Users

Appendix N contains a summary of changes between SIMION 7 and 8.

Structure of this Manual

Writing a manual to describe all the features of SIMION is a challenging task because programs like SIMION tend to have a spatial organizational structure (features are interrelated and cross-connected, much like the neurons in your brain). The problem is: Where to start, what path to take, and what to describe along the way?)

The selected approach uses logical topic areas and the interrelationships between these topic areas to set the manual's structure. Each chapter and appendix deals with one or more related topics. Early chapters (e.g. Chapter 2) attempt to give you a foundation for understanding SIMION. Later chapters (e.g. Chapter 5) address specific tasks in detail. Appendices are reserved for infrequently referenced material (e.g. Appendix B) or advanced features of the program (e.g. Appendix L). Take the time to thumb through the manual now to know where to look later.

Installing SIMION

Read Appendix A to determine if your hardware is suitable. Next, read Appendix B, and follow the installation instructions for installing SIMION.

Learning SIMION

The best way to learn to use SIMION is to dive right in. First, read Appendix C. Next, use Appendix D to guide you through a few SIMION sample runs. Remember, if you have a question about something, point your cursor to it and possibly also click the F1 key (for specific help).

At this point you should read Chapter 2 carefully to learn its structure and relationships. Chapter 3 acts as a signpost to the rest of the manual. Chapter 4 to Chapter 8 should now be scanned. They are organized as reference chapters for topics ranging from array creation to ion flying. Be sure to examine the many examples in the demo directories (typically below c:\Program Files\SIMION-8.0\examples).

Chapter 9 contains some advanced strategies and tactics to help get the most out of SIMION. This chapter also introduces SIMION's advanced features of user programming and geometry files (each have their own reference appendix). This is where the real fun begins.

Important

Chapter 2, Chapter 3, Appendix C, and Appendix D contain important background material for new users.

Warning

Updated 8.0.x and 8.1.x version of SIMION may differ slightly from the description given in this manual. Refer to the change log in those updates for differences (online at http://www.simion.com/changes).

For the latest information on SIMION, see www.simion.com.

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