XCrySDen --
(X-Window) CRYstalline Structures and DENsities

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HOWTO: Modify Menu

Table of Contents

How to Modify ...
    Atomic Symbols/Fonts
    Atomic Color
    Coordinate System Color
    Atomic Radius
    Tessellation Factor
    Force Settings
    H-bonds Settings
    Wigner-Seitz Cell Settings
    Molecular Surface Settings
        What is a Molecular Surface?
        Controlling the molecular surface display parameters
    Animation Settings
    Number of Displayed Cells

How to Modify ...

Various display parameters can be modified via the Modify menu. Here is its snapshot for XCrySDen-v1.4:

Atomic Symbols/Fonts

Atomic synbols/fonts can be set and/or modified via menu: Modify-->Atomic Symbols/Fonts . There are two types of settings: (i) global and (ii) custom. The global settings (font and color) apply to all default atomic labels, i.e., those that were not customarily set. There are two different font colors: (i) bright font color, and (ii) dark font color. The first is used for display modes such as ball-and-sticks and spacefills, where the labels are written on the atomic-balls. The latter is used for display mode such was lines (wire-frame). Here the atomic labels are put beside the atomic positions.

The Edit Atom labels & fonts window has three pages:

  1. The Global Atom-Labels Font page is used for setting the font and color of default (global) atomic labels. Here is this page:
  2. The Edit Custom Atom-Labels and Fonts page is used for setting the custom atomic labels. First a given atom must be selected (via the [Select Atom] button). For the selected atom, the label, font, and font-color can be set. The whole process can then be repeated for other atom. The labels that were defined in this was are called "custom atom-labels".
  3. The Advanced page is used for further label manipulation. Here it is possible to toggle the display of default and custom labels. It is possible to toggle the display of labels for given individual atoms or for given atomic types.

Atomic Color

An atomic color can be set via menu: Modify-->Atomic Color
Atomic Colors window
To modify an atomic color do the following:
Select a particular element from the left listbox and set the color by dragging the Red/Green/Blue scales. When the color suit your needs, press the [Update Color] button, otherwise the setting will be lost. Buttons at the bottom of the Atomic Colors window have the following function:
[Update Color] 
updates the atomic color of selected element
[Default Color]
resets the atomic color of selected element back to its default value
[Reset All]
resets all atomic colors back to default values
closes the Atomic Colors window, otherwise does nothing

Coordinate System Color

The color of the Coordinate system can be set via menu: Modify-->Atomic Radius .
Coordinate system color

Atomic Radius

Atomic radius and other related items can be set via: Modify-->Atomic Radius
Atomic Radii window
The following parameters can be set here:
chemical connectivity factor 
determines, whether to draw the bond between two atoms. The bond between two atoms is drawn when the distance is less than the sum of their covalent radii times the chemical connectivity factor
spacefill scale factor
determines the size of the spacefills and balls. The spacefill radius is:

rspacefill = spacefill_scale_factor * ratomic

where ratomic is a display radius of the corresponding atom.

display radius
it determines the display-size of a given atom.
covalent radius
well, everybody knows what it is ...

To modify either chemical connectivity factor or spacefill scale factor do the following:
In the corresponding entry widget enter a value and press the [OK] button, which is at the bottom of the window.

To modify the display radius or the covalent radius do the following:
First, select a particular element from the left listbox and enter a new value in the corresponding entry. Then press the [Update Radius] button, otherwise the setting will be lost.

Buttons in the Atomic Radii window have the following function:

clears a value in the entry to null string
sets a default value
[Update Radius] 
updates the covalent radius of selected element
[Reset All] 
resets the covalent radius of all elements back to default values
[Default Radius] 
resets the covalent radius of selected element back to its default value
updates chemical connectivity factor and spacefill scale factor and closes the Atomic Radii window

Tessellation Factor

A tessellation factor can be set via menu: Modify-->Tessellation Factor . Then one simply enter a new value. Quite trivial.

Here I would like to explain what the tessellation factor is. This factor determines the quality of the structure display (balls, bonds, vectors). It has nothing to the with the quality of an isosurface display. The greater the value of tessellation factor the better the quality of display.

According to the value of tessellation factor the quality of the display can be classified as:

quality tessellation factor
bad 1-20
moderate 20-40
good >40
Please note that tessellation factor is just a hint for XCrySDen, since the program will make some tuning according to the size of the displayed structure (for big structures the tessellation factor is internally reduced by some factor).

Force Settings

A setting of the force display can be edited via menu: Modify-->Force Settings . Forces are rendered as arrows and the lengths of the display arrows represent the force magnitudes. Here one can specify the (i) scale function, (ii) threshold, and (iii) length factor. In addition, the display attributes of force arrows ban be set (aspect and color).
Force settings window
Scale Function
can be set to: linear, logarithmic, square root, cubic root, exponential, and exp(x*x). According to my experiences the most useful scale for the visualization of forces is linear. However if one has a structure where the force sizes range over the orders of magnitude, then the logarithmic scale would be better. In this case a force of 0.01 Ryd/Bohr would be displayed as a vector of 2 arbitrary length units in size, while the force of 0.001 Ryd/Bohr as 1 arbitrary length units in size.
don't display forces below a given threshold
Length factor
controls the visual length of the displayed force-vectors. The assumed force unit is Hartree/ANGSTROM and a force of 1 Hartree/ANGSTROM will be rendered as 1 ANGSTROM long if the length factor is equal to 1. The actual displayed length can be calculated as:

length = lengthFactor * forceMagnitude

Vector thickness factor
determines how thick is the force arrow.
Thickness factor for arrow-cap
determines how thicker is the arrow-cap with respect to arrow's line.
Length factor for arrow-cap
determines the length of the arrow-cap in terms of the fraction of the arrow's length.
[Set vector's color]
Here the color for the force arrows can be set.

Warning: press the [Update] button to load the new setting and to update the display.

H-bonds Settings

A setting of the display of the hydrogen bonds can be edited via menu: Modify-->H-bonds Settings . The display of the H-bonds can be controlled by the following parameters in the H-bonds: Settings window.
Force settings window
H-like atom list
here the atomic numbers for the H-like atoms are specified. In fact, it should be only hydrogen, but having the possibility to enter also other atoms make larger display flexibility. (For example, there can be two different types of H atoms in a given molecule, and one would like to display them differently. Hence in the structure file (such as XSF) the two types can be represented by H and He.)
O-like atoms list
the list of the electro-negative atoms (enter atomic numbers) such as O, N, F that can form the hydrogen bond
Minimum H-bond length
is a minimal allows length of the H-bond (used to distinguish between the normal chemical bond and the hydrogen bond)
Maximum H-bond length
the maximum length between the H and the other atom to be still considered as the H-bond
Minimum H-bond angle
the minimum A-H---B bond angle to be still considered as the H-bond
H-bond line width
the thickness of the displayed H-bond (the H-bond is displayed as line)
H-bond line pattern
the dashing pattern of the lines that represent the H-bonds (in hexadecimal form, e.g. 0xeafa)
H-bond pattern size
the dash length of the lines that represent the H-bonds
H-bonds color
the display color of the H-bonds

Wigner-Seitz Cell Settings

A setting of the Wigner-Seitz cell display can be edited via menu: Modify-->Wigner-Seitz Cell Settings . The following window pops-up when this options is selected.
Wigner-Seitz Cell Settings window
Wigner-Seitz Cell Settings window #2
At the top of this window two tab buttons are located. These are [Wigner-Seitz setting for primitive cell mode]> and [Wigner-Seitz setting for conventional cell mode]. Under the each tab we can set the display of the Wigner-Seitz cells for the appropriate unit-cell display-mode.

Below the tab buttons a frame with several widgets is located. On the left the appropriate lattice-type is displayed, while on the right the following items widgets (widgets) are mapped:

[Display Wigner-Seitz cell on every node]
displays the Wigner-Seitz cell on very lattice point.
[Display Wigner-Seitz cell on selected node]
displays the Wigner-Seitz cell only on selected lattice points. This selection is done by mouse-clicking the lattice points displayed on the left side unit-cell-display window.
[Transparent Wigner-Seitz cell]
toggles the transparency of the displayed Wigner-Seitz cells.
sets the color of the Wigner-Seitz cells.

The [Test It] button should be pressed to load new setting and update the display of the Wigner-Seitz cells. The [Cancel] button disables the display of Wigner-Seitz cells, while [OK] button merely closes the Wigner-Seitz Cell window (Test-It button should be pressed prior to load the setting).

Molecular Surface Settings

A setting of the Molecular Surface Settings can be edited via menu: Modify-->Molecular Surface Settings .

What is a Molecular Surface?

In XCrySDen this term is used for a special kind of plots. One purpose of this plots is yet another display-mode of a molecule. Unlike the ball&stick it is not build from simple graphical primitives like spheres and cylinders, but rather resembles the molecular charge density display. An oxirane molecule is displayed on the below figure in the ball&stick display-model with the molecular surface, which is displayed in wire mode.
Molecular surface of oxiran
The molecular surface is build with the following recipe:
  1. on each atomic center put the following Gaussian function:

    fa(x) = 2 * exp[ -ln(2)/ra2 * |xa - x|2 ],

    where the x_a is the position of the atom A, and r_a is some specific radius for the atom A (usually covalent or van der Waals radius). This Gaussian function has the following properties: (i) at the nucleus center A its value is 2, and (ii) at the |x_a - x| = r_a it equals to 1 (i.e. 50% of its maximum value).
  2. calculate the 3D grid of points inside an appropriate box, which embeds the molecule.
  3. specify an isovalue for the molecular surface, which should be in the [0,2] range (a good value is 1).
  4. triangulates and render the isosurface.

Controlling the molecular surface display parameters

The following window appears when the Modify-->Molecular Surface Settings menu option is selected.
Molecular Surface Settings
At the top of the window the [Generate new molecular-surface] button is located. It generates new molecular surface. The properties of each newly generated molecular surface are set to some preset-default values, but you can control them by pressing an appropriate tab button. The tab buttons are located just below the generate button. There are plenty of widgets on each tab-page.
[Checkbutton: Display surface]
Toggles the display of current molecular surface.
[Optionmenu: Function type]
Here we can chose among different functions. These are the functions alike the above Gaussian function. The following functions beside the above Gaussian are available:
an exponential function, with the similar properties as above Gaussian function, namely: (i) at the nucleus center A its values is 2, and (ii) at the |x_a - x| = r_a it equals to 1 (i.e. 50% of its maximum value).
constant GAUSSIAN
alike GAUSSIAN function, but the r_a for all the atoms is taken to be constant and is set to 1 ANGSTROM.
alike EXPONENTIAL function, but the r_a for all the atoms is taken to be constant and is set to 1 ANGSTROM.
distance FUNCTION
in each point of the 3D grid the distance to the nearest atom is stored. This is useful for the gap analysis.
[Optionmenu: Radius type]
Chooses the radius-type of r_a among covalent and van der Waals radius
[Optionmenu: Color Scheme]
Chooses among Atomic colors and Monocolor. When the surface is colored in atomic-colors then it inherits the color from the nearest atom. On the other hand the mono-colored surface has a single color, which can be set by pressing the [Set Surface Monocolor] button.
[Optionmenu: Draw Style]
Sets the draw-style of the surface (solid, wire, dot).
[Optionmenu: Shade Model]
Sets the shade-model of surface (smooth, flat).
[Optionmenu: Surface Type]
Sets the surface type, which can be either a Pseuodo-Density or Gap analysis. The Pseuodo-Density is the type of surface that was explained above. It name comes from the fact that these plots look alike the charge-density plots. On the other hand, the Gap analysis is available only for periodic structures. These plots are useful for the examination of open structures as they really plot the holes (i.e. vacancies) inside the structure. A distance Function function is useful for this purpose, but other functions will do as well. Here is an example of a Chabazite crystal:
Chabazite crystal - figure
Note: for Gap analysis the isovalue is not confined to the range [0,2].
[Entries: Isovalue, Cutoff, Resolution, N. of smoothing steps, Smoothing weight]
The isovalue is the value at which the molecular surface will be tessellated; the cutoff is the margin around the bounding-box that embeds the molecule; the resolution specify the resolution for the grid calculation - the quality of molecular surface depends heavily on this parameter. The last two parameters are for surface-smoothing. This doesn't work well, but maybe for some cases should produce a nicer surface.
[Button: Set Surface Monocolor]
Sets the color of the molecular surface for the monocolor scheme.
[Checkbutton: Surface transparency]
Toggles the transparency of the surface
[Button: Close]
Closes the Molecular Surface Settings window.
[Button: Update]
Important: this button should be pressed to load new setting and update the surface display

Animation Settings

The animation can be controlled by the Animation Control Center window, which is accessible via Modify-->Animation Settings .
Animation Window
On this window we can set the delay (in msec) between slides, the animation step, and there are the playing buttons (from left to right: to the first, animate backward, one step back, one step forward, animate forward, and to the last).

To enhance the performance of the animation we can either switch to Lighting-Off mode or reduce the tessellation factor.

The [Hide] button hides the Animation Control Center window. Hiding means that window is iconified, i.e. the window disappears and its icon appears on XCrySDen main render window. By mouse-cliking the icon the window will appear again.

The [Animated GIF/MPEG >>] button is enabled only when the GIF and/or MPEG encoders are defined in the the $HOME/.xcrysden/custom-definitions file. By pressing this button, new information will appear on the window aimed at creating animated-GIF and MPEG movies. Read More ...

Number of Displayed Cells

The number of displayed crystal unit cells can be set via Modify-->Number of Units Drawn menu, where we simply specify the number of unit cells to be drawn in each crystallographic direction.

BEWARE: don't specify to large numbers, for example 10x10x10, since it will either take a long time to render the crystal or the program will run out of memory.

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This document was last modified on Tue 29 Oct 2019 12:29:45 PM CET