Monte Carlo event generators in atomic collisions: A new tool to tackle the few-body dynamics

M. F. Ciappina*, T. Kirchner, M. Schulz

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


We present a set of routines to produce theoretical event files, for both single and double ionization of atoms by ion impact, based on a Monte Carlo event generator (MCEG) scheme. Such event files are the theoretical counterpart of the data obtained from a kinematically complete experiment; i.e. they contain the momentum components of all collision fragments for a large number of ionization events. Among the advantages of working with theoretical event files is the possibility to incorporate the conditions present in a real experiment, such as the uncertainties in the measured quantities. Additionally, by manipulating them it is possible to generate any type of cross sections, specially those that are usually too complicated to compute with conventional methods due to a lack of symmetry. Consequently, the numerical effort of such calculations is dramatically reduced. We show examples for both single and double ionization, with special emphasis on a new data analysis tool, called four-body Dalitz plots, developed very recently. Program summary: Program title: MCEG. Catalogue identifier: AEFV_v1_0. Program summary URL: Program obtainable from: CPC Program Library, Queen's University, Belfast, N. Ireland. Licensing provisions: Standard CPC licence, No. of lines in distributed program, including test data, etc.: 2695. No. of bytes in distributed program, including test data, etc.: 18 501. Distribution format: tar.gz. Programming language: FORTRAN 77 with parallelization directives using scripting. Computer: Single machines using Linux and Linux servers/clusters (with cores with any clock speed, cache memory and bits in a word). Operating system: Linux (any version and flavor) and FORTRAN 77 compilers. Has the code been vectorised or parallelized?: Yes. RAM: 64-128 kBytes (the codes are very cpu intensive). Classification: 2.6. Nature of problem: The code deals with single and double ionization of atoms by ion impact. Conventional theoretical approaches aim at a direct calculation of the corresponding cross sections. This has the important shortcoming that it is difficult to account for the experimental conditions when comparing results to measured data. In contrast, the present code generates theoretical event files of the same type as are obtained in a real experiment. From these event files any type of cross sections can be easily extracted. The theoretical schemes are based on distorted wave formalisms for both processes of interest. Solution method: The codes employ a Monte Carlo Event Generator based on theoretical formalisms to generate event files for both single and double ionization. One of the main advantages of having access to theoretical event files is the possibility of adding the conditions present in real experiments (parameter uncertainties, environmental conditions, etc.) and to incorporate additional physics in the resulting event files (e.g. elastic scattering or other interactions absent in the underlying calculations). Additional comments: The computational time can be dramatically reduced if a large number of processors is used. Since the codes has no communication between processes it is possible to achieve an efficiency of a 100% (this number certainly will be penalized by the queuing waiting time). Running time: Times vary according to the process, single or double ionization, to be simulated, the number of processors and the type of theoretical model. The typical running time is between several hours and up to a few weeks.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)813-820
Number of pages8
JournalComputer Physics Communications
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Atomic collisions
  • Distorted wave formalisms
  • Monte Carlo event generators
  • Single and double ionization by ion impact


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