STP710: A Generalized Laboratory Automation Scheme for a Group of Different Analytical Instruments

    Stern, SE
    Graduate student, Computer Science, and associate professor of computer science, Materials Research Laboratory, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pa.

    Johnson, GG
    Graduate student, Computer Science, and associate professor of computer science, Materials Research Laboratory, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pa.

    Pages: 12    Published: Jan 1980


    Abstract

    The Materials Research Laboratory of The Pennsylvania State University is a general purpose central analytical facility, which has most of the currently available instruments found in industrial laboratories. For the past four years a determined effort has been made by the scientists to introduce the computer for instrument control, data collection, and analysis. The two reasons which primarily motivated these changes were: (1) increased use—since the computer could collect data and control instruments at off hours, thus increasing the total instrument use time per week, and (2) increased analytical capability—since the instruments can spend the time on important data rather than background. Also, once the data are stored in a digital format, it is possible to use a selection of independent routines to analyze the data.

    The central computer facility consists of a dual processor PDP-11/20 with a full assortment of input/output (I/O) peripherals. The system is being run under Digital Equipment Corp. (DEC) operating system RT-11 with the users (scientists) programming in BASIC or FORTRAN. Several important desicions have been made by the manager of this facility and include the following: (a) all equipment is optically isolated from each other; (b) computer science and electrical engineering graduate students are responsible for the interface software and hardware; (c) the scientists, alone, are responsible for the application software; (d) all DEC equipment is maintained through a service contract; and (e) a link with an International Business Machine's (IBM) 370/3033 is available for large computational problems.

    A discussion of these topics and the actual use with the following five instruments will constitute the body of the paper: (1) scanning electron microscope, (2) ellipsometer, (3) ion scattering/electron spectroscopy for chemical analysis, spectrometer, (4) dielectric measurement facility, (5) soft X-ray spectrometer, and (6) laser raman spectrometer.

    Keywords:

    assembly language, BASIC, computers, FORTRAN, functions, hardware, interface, MACRO, software, automation, data acquisition


    Paper ID: STP29249S

    Committee/Subcommittee: E28.15

    DOI: 10.1520/STP29249S


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