Balsac - News

Build and Analyze Lattices, Surfaces, And Clusters
Version 4.30 (February 2022)

On this page we report bugs, features, and announce updates as they become availabe. Any suggestions to improve this page are welcome. 

Note that bug fixes and new features described on this page are usually published together with Balsac code updates. As a registered scientist you are entitled to download any updated Balsac version from the download section of the Balsac home page.

The download date of the most recent version is always shown in the download section.

  • March 8, 2022: Nanoparticle definition generalized 
    The nanoparticle definition, based on netplane families {100}, {110}, and {111} by default, has been generalized to include constraints by any {hkl} family replacing {111}. This allows to build cubic NPs with stepped and kinked facets. 
  • February 18, 2022: Balsac V. 4.30 interactive help updated 
    The interactive help of Balsac has been updated. In particular, the documentation of the nanoparticle (NP) builder has been completely rewritten following a recent publication
  • January 22, 2022: Balsac V. 4.30 further improved 
    The nanoparticle (NP) builder has been revised further to comply with a new notation introduced in a recent publication
  • November 7, 2021: Balsac V. 4.30 available for download 
    Apart from bugfixes, the nanoparticle (NP) builder has been further revised to evaluate edges and analyze polygons. In addition, the Plot3D type file output format has been extended to allow more NP definitions. Finally, the help manual has been greatly revised. 
  • June 27, 2021: Balsac V. 4.20 available for download 
    The latest update of Balsac, version 4.20, has been released. Apart from bugfixes, the nanoparticle (NP) builder has been revised completely to allow for up to three facet types, {100}, {110}, and {111}, confining the cubic NP on the same footing. Further, the file output option has been streamlined and updated for NP definitions. Finally, the help manual has been greatly revised. 
  • September 9, 2020: Balsac Nanoparticle builder revised 
    The nanoparticle (NP) builder has been completely revised. This includes amongst others 
    - up to two (possible three) {hkl} constraints to define NPs, 
    - detailed analyses of structure data, 
    - default settings of different NP types, 
    - a documentation of all NP details in the help menual. 
  • November 30, 2020: Balsac Examples directory 
    All files of the Examples directory in the installation package have been updated to account for the latest changes in the Latuse and Plot3D format used for file in/output in Balsac lattice and cluster sessions. See also new definitions given in the File Format sections of the help menual. 
  • September 6, 2020: Balsac V. 4.10 available for download 
    The latest update of Balsac, version 4.10, has been released. Apart from bugfixes, the nanoparticle (NP) builder has been revised further for alternative definitions and includes NP peeling, dressing . The file output option has been streamlined and updated. 
  • August 11, 2020: Balsac V. 4.9 available for download 
    The latest update of Balsac, version 4.9, has been released. Apart from bugfixes, now up to 30000 atoms, increased from 12000, can be handled internally. The nanoparticle builder has been revised further for more efficiency. The view focus option has been streamlined and updated. 
  • July 1, 2020: Default color table updated 
    The default color table has been reordered starting with green, red, blue for better visibility. 
  • June 22, 2020: Cubic nanoparticle builder updated 
    The internal builder of polyhedral/spherical nanoparticles (NPs) of Oh and icosahedral symmetry has been debugged further and updated for easier handling. 
  • May 30, 2020: Balsac V. 4.8 available for download 
    The latest update of Balsac, version 4.8, has been released. Apart from bugfixes, now up to 30000 atoms, increased from 12000, can be handled internally. Further, the nanoparticle builder has been revised for more efficiency. 
  • March 26, 2020: Balsac V. 4.7 available for download 
    The latest update of Balsac, version 4.7, has been released. This version offers, apart from bugfixes, completely revised interactive help files with illustrations complying with the Windows 10 standard.
  • March 23, 2020: Lattice basis vector update from file 
    The update of bulk and layer lattice basis vectors by Plot3D format file input has been revised. 
  • December 28, 2019: Cubic NaCl and CsCl nanoparticles included 
    Polyhedral/spherical NaCl and CsCl nanoparticles (NPs) of Oh symmetry, analogous to simple and face centered cubic NPs, can be built with the nanoparticle generator. 
  • December 14, 2019: PostScript output of Balsac: source code 
    Balsac uses a meta-language for PostScript output of graphics. The source code of all macros is listed in the interactive help file, see section "PostScript Source code". 
  • December 6, 2019: Balsac V. 4.5 bug fixes
    Further bug fixes include a revised animation interface. 
  • October 28, 2019: Balsac V. 4.5 released
    The V. 4.5 update includes new options for animating Balsac views based on external structure files, new options for nanotube building and more. Further, a number of bug fixes have been made. Finally, the interactive help manual has been revised. 
  • August 5, 2019: Balsac V. 4.4 released
    The V. 4.4 update includes fast keys for single atom display mode, additional analysis options (e.g. tube rolling vector, coincidence lattice vectors), coincidence overlayer options, and more. Further, the interactive help manual has been revised. 
  • March 30, 2019: Icosahedral nanoparticles included
    Polyhedral nanoparticles (NPs) of Ih symmetry formed by sets of concentric icosahedral atom shells can be built with the nanoparticle generator. 
  • January 12, 2019: Balsac V. 4.3 released, nanoparticle generator
    Balsac V. 4.3 includes a nanoparticle generator for metal atom clusters of atoms forming compact sections of the ideal cubic lattices, simple, body centered, and face centered. The sections are of Oh symmetry. They can be confined by (hkl) oriented layers forming symmetric polyhedral nanoparticles or by facets simulating the shape of spheres resulting in spherical nanoparticles. In addition, numerous minor bug have been removed. 
  • December 20, 2018: Bug fixes in symmetry analysis
    A bug leading to missing rotation symmetry elements in the cluster analysis has been fixed. 
  • October 4, 2018: Repeat options in group definitions or operations
    Atoms can be included to or excluded from existing group definitions. Some of the corresponding options, such as including/excluding above planes, can now be repeated without having to return to the group definition menu. 
  • September 15, 2018: Legend included in PostScript output
    The legend connecting colors of atom balls with element names or layer indices are now available in PostScript graphics file output. The option is enabled if a legend is chosen in the graphics windows output. It can be turned off or modified separately by changing the PostScript file with a text editon. 
  • August 29, 2018: Extended bond definition and analysis
    The definition of bond constraints has been generalized including bonds between a given atom and all elements. Further, a vector definition (cones, sticks) starting from an atom center is now available. 
  • August 12, 2018: New focus option
    The definition of a view focus has been generalized to positions in Cartesian coordinates which do not coincide with atom positions or cluster centers. 
  • August 5, 2018: Updated group and hide definition 
    Grouping and hiding includes now also sets of atoms of the same element type. 
  • February 18, 2018: Dihedral angle redefined
    The definition of dihedral angles in the graphical analysis menue has been changed from ABC/ABD to ABC/BCD to comply with the common definition used in other visualizers. 
  • January 5, 2018: Balsac V. 4.21 released
    Balsac V. 4.21 has been improved in its bond setting options allowing bonds from specific atom centers as well including the visualization of vector quantities, such as forces, in plot output. In addition, numerous minor bug have been removed. 
  • November 13, 2017: Animation options updated
    All animation options have been updated for compatibility and speed. Animating external Balsac file sequences is now possible both in forward and backward direction. 
  • April 17, 2017: Transfer between compatible lattices, Wurtzite
    Transfer between symmetry compatible lattices has been implemented in parts facilitating modifications of lattice definitions. Hexagonal Wurtzite is included as a default lattice type. 
  • March 26, 2017: Lattice and Miller index options
    The internal definitions of general Bravais lattices and corresponding Miller indices have been completely reworked towards improved consistency and easier use. 
  • February 7, 2017: Balsac V. 4.2 released
    Balsac V. 4.2 allows in its Lattice sessions the use of partial occupations of atom sites in its bulk (appearing in cif data files) and layer basis. Partial occupations are saved on Latuse format output files and can be retrieved accordingly when a Balsac/Lattice session is (re)started. 
  • January 26, 2017: Minor debugging
    The Balsac/Lattice session is being prepared to allow partial occupations of atom sites appearing in cif data files. 
  • January 9, 2016: New interactive help for Windows 7 and later
    Starting with version 4.1 Balsac offers the interactive help manual using either the traditional (before Windows 7) or the more recent html-based Help engine (the latter by default). 
  • July 14, 2015: PostScript procedures updated further
    The internal PostScript procedure library has been updated further by adding global color definitions for font colors used in labels and title text. 
  • July 14, 2015: Basis atom file output improved
    Balsac/Lattice sessions include initial and (h k l) adapted elementary cells whose basis atoms can be saved in separate files. The output option has been greatly improved. 
  • June 16, 2015: Slab file output
    Balsac/Lattice sessions which create sections with (h k l) monolayer stacking allow saving elementary cells of the sections as slab supercells in files for further processing outside Balsac. 
  • May 4, 2015: PostScript procedures updated
    The internal PostScript procedure library has been updated (bug fixes) and extended to include general font size labels as well as crystallographic symmetry symbols. 
  • April 17, 2015: Balsac Version 4.00 available
    Version 4.00 of Balsac has been revised and rewritten in major parts avoiding the use of a separate Fortran library for numerical processing. Apart from bug fixes many new features have bee added where we mention 
    • Faster operations for experienced users avoiding control confirmation.
    • Faster handling in the construction and symmetry analysis of large clusters and crystal sections.
    • More graphical analysis options in a restructured analysis menu for easier handling
    • Improved arithmetics and visualization/analysis for of higher order commensurate (HOC) overlayers.
    • Separate print file options (PostScript and bitmap format).
    • Further bug fixes.
  • October 17, 2014: Bug removal, Windows 8(.1) 
    The updated version corrects minor bugs in the HOC lattice input, in saving lattice files with reconstructed layers, and allows the installation under MS Windows 8(.1).
  • July 13, 2014: HOC lattice processing 
    Version 3.80: The updated version allows input and analysis of higher order coincidence (HOC) lattices.
    The analysis of moiré lattices has been generalized and extended to higher orders. 
  • April 8, 2014: Bug fixes, Maximum number of atoms reset 
    Version 3.70: The largest allowed number of atoms in a cluster / lattice section has been reduced to 12000 due to reports of memory problems and slow performance.
    Default radii (scaled covalent readii) are set when atoms of radius = 0.0 are included in a lattice structure. The radii list is adjusted accordingly. 
  • February 7, 2014: Maximum allowed number of atoms increased 
    The largest allowed number of atoms in a cluster / lattice section has been increased to 50000. However, note that processing and display times can become very long for systems with close to 12000 atoms. There may also be storage problems in computers with limited memory. 
  • March 15, 2013: Symmetry analysis updated 
    The symmetry analysis of clusters in Balsac Version 3.70 has been further debugged and optimized towards speed for large particles. 
  • March 5, 2013: XYZ file input 
    XYZ file input to Balsac Version 3.70 now defines radii of the atoms as covalent radii where a global scaling is applied such that at least two atom balls touch each other while all others do not overlap (touching atom radii). The title of a lattice section or cluster can be reset to show the elemental composition of the particle. 
  • July 13, 2012: Bug fixes, separate analysis window
    Version 3.60 includes bug fixes and documentation improvements. A separate radii window allows setting global element radii more quickly. A new analysis window complemens the graphical analysis in cases where atom centers of a cluster or lattice section are not visible. 
  • April 29, 2012: Selection of atoms above plane
    Selection of atoms above a plane defined by origin and normal vector (two atom centers) available for atom hiding and group definitions. Manual polished further.
  • April 22, 2012: Major debug version
    Version 3.50 includes major bug fixes and documentation improvements. The wave distortion of atom groups is further generalized. A global atom radii menu is included.
  • March 14, 2012: Moiré lattices and analysis
    Version 3.40 includes the analysis of possible periodic interference patterns (moiré lattices) induced by reconstructed overlayers.
  • March 14, 2012: Wood notation in layer builder
    Version 3.40 now includes the use of Wood notation inside the layer builder for reconstructed layers and surfaces.
  • February 15, 2012: Group animation extended
    Version 3.40 now offers extended animation of atom groups inside clusters includung shifting, scaling, stretching, and rotation.
  • January 4, 2012: Balsac Version 3.40, major update
    Version 3.40 represents a major upgrade of the Balsac package with bugfixes and new features including
    - a new group handling scheme in the Cluster session part with additional options, such as group stretching, improved operation repeat setting
    - new analysis options such as free line distance analysis
    - upgrated PostScript file output
    - revised interactive manual. 
  • October 2, 2011: Repeat options for group operations
    Operations on groups of atoms inside clusters can be repeated. Examples are multiple magnifications or rotations. This option, available in the group operation menu of the graphics window, can now be activated also inside the group operation windows. 
  • May 8, 2011: Two-color painting of bonds / sticks
    Bond lines / sticks connecting atom pairs can now be painted according to two different schemes. The first (old) scheme uses one of the predefined bond colors. The second scheme uses two colors which are automatically assigned and refer to the colors of the connected atom balls. 
  • May 1, 2011: Balsac Version 3.31, minor update
    This update includes bug fixes and an easier option to set incident light angles starting from the basic color window. Further, explicit fortran runtime files (except the installation file VFRUN660I.exe) have been removed from the installation package to comply with new Windows 7 definitions.  
  • January 4, 2011: Balsac Version 3.30, major update
    This update includes a complete revision of all input options with a unified interface and error handling. 
  • November 8, 2010: Balsac Version 3.24, minor update
    This update includes a few bug fixes and new options concerning viewing directions and animated views. 
  • June 28, 2010: Balsac Version 3.23 released
    This update includes an updated atom group handling. Now atom groups can be defined and modified according to
    - single atom selection
    - selection of atoms inside/outside a spherical volume
    - atom type (element type)
    - volume above a plane
    which can speed up the selection process significantly. 
  • June 6, 2010: Balsac Version 3.22 released
    This update includes a number of internal fixes in the code. The internal maxima have been increased to
    12000 atoms in a lattice section / cluster, 999 atoms in a reconstructed monolayer.
    A new analysis option to measure areas between vectors has been introduced. 
  • April 26, 2009: Bugfixes
    A bug in the screen / PostScript output of Wigner-Seitz cells and Brillouin zones of general Bravais lattices has been removed. 
  • January 9, 2009: Balsac Version 3.2 released
    This update includes a number of internal fixes in the code. Further, spherical cavities can be carved in crystal and molecular sections which can help visualizing structural details. 
  • July 20, 2008: Nanotubes included in Balsac
    Balsac now allows to construct and visualize/analyze nanotubes based on (hkl) netplanes which goes far beyond carbon nanotubes. 
  • August 9, 2007: Animation included in Balsac
    An animation feature has been included in Balsac. This allows viewing a sequence of snapshots of a particle with two scenarios, (a) interactive animation where a sequence of Nstep > 1 views (snapshots) is shown with differing values of view parameters, and (b) file based animation where a Balsac animation file containing names of Balsac input files is used for an animation sequence. 
  • April 21, 2007: Symmetry analysis for atom groups
    The symmetry analysis inside the Balsac/Cluster session has been extended to allow analyses of groups of atoms forming part of the particle. This includes a copy/paste option to transfer symmetry parameters from the analysis to other input windows assisting the construction of particles. 
  • April 11, 2007: Balsac MS Windows version 3.1 released
    The new version 3.1, available only for MS Windows PCs, includes a nanotube builder which allows constructing nanotubes of one or a set of netplanes of single crystals. 
  • February 1, 2007: Balsac MS Windows version 3.0 released
    The new version 3.0, available only for MS Windows PCs, is a full Windows application interfacing seamlessly with the operating system and being much more intuitive in its use. 
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