scatterBrain is a software package for Small Angle Scattering data reduction (and instrument control) developed at the Australian Synchrotron. scatterBrain is a "rebirth" of the saxs15ID software developed at ChemMatCARS at the APS.

scatterBrain is written in IDL. Although originally designed to be cross-platform (Windows, OSX and Linux), currently only a Windows version is available.  A manual for scatterBrain is being established as part of the SAXS beamline wiki which is intended to enable to manual to keep apace with changes to the software. The scatterBrain manual is located here

scatterBrain is distributed as an IDL runtime. This runtime includes all the necessary parts of IDL required to run scatterBrain for a particular operating system, as well as the scatterBrain code in the form of a binary "SAVE" file. Installation is a simple matter of unzipping the archive and running the application (scatterBrainAnalysis.exe for Windows, or the scatterBrainAnalysis script for linux). Future releases of scatterBrain only require the "SAV" file to be updated, at least until a new version of IDL is released. scatterBrain can be kept up-to-date using the "Check for Updates" option under the Help menu. This will check for a new version of the "SAV" file, and give you the option of downloading and installing it. After which you simply restart scatterBrain. 

Some people have reported issues getting scatterBrain to start (especially on Windows). This can usually be solved by installing the full IDL distribution. Please refer to the manual for more information. Another possible solution to problems with scatterBrain starting (on Windows) is to install the Microsoft C++ redistributable 32-bit or 64-bit. It seems that some systems are missing a required library (dll) file - which can be provided by this redistributable. Note if you are on a 64bit system you may need to install the 32-bit redistributable as well for this fix to work.


If you download one of the runtime versions below, you should immediately check for Updates within IDL to ensure you are using the latest Save File (the runtime distributions aren't always kept up-to-date with the latest Save File as noted in brackets).

If you are currently running a version of scatterBrain older than version 1.71, then you need to download the whole program again (you can't update) as the version of IDL has changed from 8.2 to 8.22.

An incompatibility has arisen between new and old experiment files. So if you have done an experiment recently and can't open your experiments please download and use version 1.31 or later.


To get this latest version to load you may need to delete the file on your computer at:

Windows: C:\Documents and Settings\ YOURLOGINNAME\.idl\australiansynchrotron\scatterbrain-9-1_0-windows\scatterBrainSettings.xml


OSX: /Users/YOURLOGINNAME/.idl/australiansynchrotron/scatterbrain-9-1_0-unix

I will fix this issue in the next update.



PlatformSize (MB)
Windows (V 2.71) 84
OS X (not currently available) NA
Linux (V 2.71) 59
SAV (V 2.80) 15





Save File (1MB)

Linux (32 and 64 bit)