Facilities File


The facilities file, called facilities.xml, contains properties of facilities and instruments that Mantid is aware of. In order for Mantid to function correctly for your facility then the facilities file should contain the appropriate definitions as defined below.

File syntax

Each facility is described using XML with an instrument defined as a sub component of a facility. A simple facility definition would be

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
 <facility name="BrandNew" delimiter="_" zeropadding="8" FileExtensions=".nxs,.n*">

  <instrument name="ABCDEF"/>


which would define a facility called BrandNew with an instrument called ABCDEF. The facilities attributes have the following meanings:

  • delimiter gives the delimiter that is inserted between the instrument name and the run number when constructing a file name;

  • zeroPadding gives the number of digits that a run number is padded to when constructing a file name;

  • FileExtensions should list the extensions of the data files for the facility. The first is taken as the preferred extension.

  • timezone specifies what timezone the facility is in for use with pytz. Valid timezones can be found in python by looking at the list in pytz.all_timezones

An instrument can have further attributes which define properties of the that instrument rather than the facility as a whole, e.g.

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>

 <facility name="BrandNew" zeropadding="8" FileExtensions=".nxs,.n*">

  <instrument name="ABCDEF" shortName="ABC">
  <technique>Tech 1</technique>
  <technique>Tech 2</technique>
  <zeropadding size="12" startRunNumber="12345" prefix="FEDCBA"></zeropadding>
  <zeropadding size="15" startRunNumber="54321" prefix="ZYXWUV"></zeropadding>



where the attributes are defined as:

  • shortName gives a shortened version of the instrument name sometimes used in run filename generation;

  • <technique>NAME<\technique> tags give a named technique supported by the instrument. Mantid uses this to retrieve lists of instruments based on a particular technique. Multiple techniques can be specified.

  • <zeropadding size="12" startRunNumber="12345" prefix="FEDCBA"\> is an optional tag to specify zero padding different from the default for the facility. startRunNumber is an optional attribute specifying the smallest run number at which this zero padding must be used. If startRunNumber is omitted this zero padding is applied from run number 0. The optional prefix attribute allows a filename to have a different prefix. An instrument tag can have multiple zeropadding tags.


The file should be located in the directory pointed to by the instrumentDefinition.directory key in the .properties file.

Category: Concepts