Scientific visualisation

Short description


Screen shots & Video Demos








Short description


The study of the irradiation-induced defect formation in various metals and metal alloys is of interest in order to understand the degradation of the physical properties of the materials used in pressure vessels in nuclear power plants as well as in metal coatings for fusion-based alternative energy sources [1].  The theoretical description of radiation effects in materials requires modeling and simulation of processes that occur over widely disparate length and time scales [2,3].  Since most damage produced in materials during ion irradiation derives from a complex process occurring in collision cascades, much research has been devoted to studying these events [4].

The positions and kinetic energies of each particle of the system were displayed using the open source software RasMol [5], which allows 3D visualization from various angles.  It has the advantage that it can easily display large systems, the color coding (or the grayscale) indicating qualitatively, the kinetic energy of each particle.  The disadvantage, however is that it does not allow for different transparencies of various particles to better visualize particular parts of the systems (for instance the hot regions with high energy particles displaced from their equilibrium positions). 

To obtain a more flexible visualization software than RasMol, we implemented our own virtual reality based software, ScientView, based on the AReVi API developed by CERV [6,7].  AReVi is an open C++ and OpenGL based source, and is adaptive to very different configurations, starting from desktop systems and ending with 3D stereoscopic immersion systems.  ScientView allows the immersion within the simulated virtual environment leading to an interactive 3D visualisation of the experiment.  Like RasMol, it allows various visualization perspectives, from different angles, but it also permits the navigation through the simulated environment for instance following the impact particle (or any other particle of the system).  Another special feature is the capability to modify the level of transparency of various particles which allows a clearer picture of the shock wave and the molten regions.  Moreover, other options are related to sequences of images, the user being able to switch between no animation, step by step and continuous interpolation-based animation modes.  The software also allows for reverse display of the time evolution as well as for choosing and visualising particles in any section plane parallel to the walls of the simulating cell.

We have considered the virtual environment as a space of human experience, and we have proposed in [8] a reactive agent-based model that permits the user’s setting in the situation, the perception of space by its user, as well as the user’s evolution in this space. In other words, everything inside the virtual space is an agent, able to perceive, decide, and react based on its profile, internal structure, and tasks, to the environment evolution, so to the user actions also; as section plane movement and transparency filter selection. The material cells’ behaviour consists in following the given path and evolving according to the given temperature and position information set.










Video Demo



















This work was supported in part by the Romanian Ministry of Education and Research through the National University Research Council, grant CNCSIS A678/2006, and the National Authority for Scientific Research, grant INFOSOC 131/20.08.2004.  The authors are thankful to the research teams within the INTUITION project (FP6-IST-NMP-1-507248-2) and from CERV, Brest, France, as well as to the CERVA team from Ovidius University of Constanţa, Romania, for their constant support.















[1] K. Nordlund, M. Ghaly, R.S. Averback, M. Caturla, T. Diaz de la Rubia, and J. Tarus, Phys. Rev. B, 57, 7556 (1998).

[2] R. S. Averback and T. Diaz de la Rubia, in Solid State Physics 51 (eds F. Spaepen, et al.) 281–402 (Academic, New York, 1998).

[3] J. Tarus and K. Nordlund, Nucl. Instr. Meth. Phys. Res. B 212, 281 (2003).

[4] K. Nordlund, J. Keinonen, M. Ghaly& R. S. Averback, Nature 49, 398 (1999).

[5] RasMol, version 2.7.3, Herbert J. Bernstein, Bellport, NY, USA, http://www.openrasmol.org/.

[6] P. Reignier, F. Harrouet, S. Morvan, J. Tisseau, T. Duval,  AReVi:  A Virtual Reality Multiagent Platform, Lectures Notes in Computer Science, 1434 (1998) p.229-240.

[7] AReVi API software developed by the European Virtual Reality Center, CERV, Brest, France. http://www.cerv.fr/fr/activites/AReVi.php or http://sourceforge.net/projects/arevi/.

[8] Popovici, D.M. (2004): Modeling the space in virtual universes, PhD Thesis: Politehnica University of Bucharest.