The platon crystallographic package
THE PLATON CRYSTALLOGRAPHIC PACKAGE
DOCUMENTATION - VERSION 29-09-2010
© 1980-2010 A.L. Spek, Utrecht University, Bijvoet Center for Biomolecular Research,
National Single Crystal Structure Facility, Padualaan 8, 3584 CH Utrecht,The Netherlands.
Currently Preferred Citation of the Software: A.L.Spek (2009) Acta Cryst., D65, 148-155.
Overview of the Content of this Document
PLATON - General Introduction and Information
PLATON - Implementation and Menu driven Instructions
PLATON - Architecture and Keyboard Instruction Set
PLUTON - Architecture and Keyboard Instruction Set
ADDSYM - Missed and Pseudo-Symmetry Detection Tool
VOIDS and SQUEEZE - Detection and Handling VOIDS
TwinRotMat - Detection of (Non-) Merohedral Twinning
CONTOUR - Contoured (Difference) Density Maps
PLATON/CHECK - Build-in Structure Validation
FLIPPER: -Structure Determination with Charge Flipping
SYSTEM-S - Build-in Structure Determination Shell
HOW TO – Solutions for Specific Tasks
Frequently Asked Questions
Recognized Coordinate Data Input Standards
Recognized Reflection File Data Formats
Space Group Symmetry
The PLATON/CALC Listing Explained
HELENA – Data-Reduction of CAD4 data.
COMPARE - Compare two FCF-files
Cited Literature References
Index: Where to find information on ? In this manual
Chapter 0 – General Introduction to the PLATON Package
The most recent version of this manual can be found at:
The associated test and example data can be found at:
Chapter 0is meant as an introduction to the PLATON crystallographic software suite.
Implementation and usage information of the various PLATON tools and options can be
Chapter 1. More detailed info for some of the available tools can be found in
Chapters 2 to 10.
Chapter 11provides HOW TO's for some of the most used tools.
Chapter 12addresses a number of frequently asked questions. This manual describes the
native UNIX platform (LINUX & MAC OS X) implementation of PLATON. The MS-
Windows version of PLATON is maintained by Dr. Louis Farrugia (Glasgow, Scotland).
That version is essentially identical to the UNIX version. It is normally run under the
control of an added toolbar but lacks the SYSTEM S part.
– What is the PLATON Package About
The PLATON package brings together in a single program a collection of CIF and SHELX
compatible tools that are used as part of a small molecule single crystal structure study.
Most of the available tools are accessible via clickable options that are listed on the
PLATON program opening menu (
Fig. 0.1-1) that is displayed when the program is invoked
with a data file such as a CIF.
PLATON is a (currently) FORTRAN95 based program that is designed to be as independent
as possible from external libraries with the long term maintenance issue of the program in
mind. The graphics depends only on a simple subset of X-Windows C language calls that
can easily be substituted by similar graphics calls on other platforms such as Microsoft
Windows. The program is currently developed on the UNIX platform which includes
LINUX and Mac OS X. A Microsoft Windows version is maintained by Dr. Louis Farrugia
and is compatible with the UNIX version except for the absence of the SYSTEM-S
component due to being too UNIX specific. A similar but less UNIX specific tool, based on
structure solution with Charge Flipping (
see Chapter 9), is under development.
PLATON can be run in both the default graphical menu mode as in a non-graphical menu
mode with keyboard instructions and listing output only. The latter option is mainly
historical but can still be useful when the program is run over a low bandwidth connection.
In addition, many program features such as structure validation are also available through
option switches on the program calling command from a terminal window (
This is the filter mode of operation with files in and files out only. E.g. the instruction
-U name.cifwill produce a structure validation report for the structure file
on a file named
name.fcfis found as
well). A default ORTEP plot on the display is produced with
platon -a name.cif.
PLATON development started around 1980 (thus prior to SHELXL) and was originally
designed to run within the constraints of a 60 bit CDC university mainframe computer.
Fig. 0.1-1– PLATON opening menu. The available and clickable tools are listed in the
main block. The side menu offers access to various program options. More options are
available by clicking in one of the other boxes in 'OptionMenus'. The name and type of the
active input data files for structural parameters and reflection data are shown below the
main block. When '
Browser' is shown in this area, information on a menu item is available
by a right mouse click on that item. At the bottom left, preceded by
>>is a field for
keyboard instructions to the program. In the lower right corner is an EXIT button as a short
cut for leaving the program and a computing status message (MenuActive/Working). Entries
in Blue are not active in the current setting. Red entries in the side menu are currently
active options. Program messages and certain types of one line results may appear at the
bottom of the window. The window can be refreshed by clicking on 'PLATON 10' in the top-
right of the window or with CTRL-L. The number 10 indicates the number of the active sub-
menu and acts as a reference for the information in
Subsequent development was done on an in-house Digital Equipment VAX/VMS cluster
and currently on various UNIX platforms (LINUX and MAC OS X). It originally aimed at
the automated generation of formatted tables of a variety of derived geometrical entities
such as bond distances, bond angles, torsion angles, least-squares planes, ring-puckering
parameters and hydrogen bonds. An exhaustive listing file could be produced with a single
ALL) instruction (see
Appendix VI) with all derived parameters accompanied by
standard uncertainties that were derived from the standard uncertainties in the primary input
parameters originating from the at that time SHELX76 refinement program. Such a listing
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