Balsac web distribution, FAQs
(Build and Analyze Lattices, Surfaces,
Version 4.9 (September 2020)
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
home page using your previously assigned Balsac userid/password. The
download date of the most recent version is always shown in the download
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- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
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
- 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
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
- 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
- August 5, 2018: Updated group and hide definition
Grouping and hiding includes now also sets of atoms of the same element
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
Default radii (scaled covalent readii) are set when atoms of radius = 0.0
are included in a lattice structure. The radii list is adjusted
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
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
- 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
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
- February 1, 2007: Balsac MS Windows version 3.0
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.
HOW TO CONTACT THE AUTHOR
We are open to any suggestions and questions concerning the Balsac software.
You can contact the author using the addresses
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