This question concerns Monte Carlo simulation of electron scattering in complex material structures, especially the reliability of publicly available source codes and reference data for physical properties of materials and elements.

The source code from DTSA II contains the notice that the author noticed compromissed reference data for Rb in one publicly available source. The same source code also uses the NIST Electron Elastic-Scattering Cross-Section Database, which may be less compromised or not. The general-purpose Monte Carlo code system PENELOPE, which performs simulations of coupled electron-photon transport in complex material structures, uses the NIST ESTAR database for parts of its material data. Let me add that all this data properly links back to scientific publications describing how the data has been obtained. There are many other independent Monte Carlo codes like FLUKA, EGS or Geant, which may include reference data from other independent sources, and can be used to cross check each other.

Let's assume that I have done such a cross check, and have found excellent agreement for most materials, but some additional materials/elements like Rb reported above, where something seems to be wrong. I wonder how common it is to find such compromised data especially concerning electron simulation, and whether it is possible that this is even intentional.

  • $\begingroup$ A good questions of course and one that is of interest to anyone who does calculations involving (for instance) fissile materials. But it is not clear how easy it is going to be to find authoritative answers. $\endgroup$ – dmckee Oct 31 '13 at 6:40
  • $\begingroup$ @dmckee I don't think that there can be authoritative answers here. After spending a surprisingly huge amount of time to get some electron scattering simulations right, and finding quite some common traps (some of the above cited codes also fall into these), I just wondered whether this topic is just so difficult, or whether at least some of the traps were created intentionally. The material issue was just one part where I could ask the question without disclosing too much information, because the author of DTSA II already disclosed this observation. $\endgroup$ – Thomas Klimpel Oct 31 '13 at 9:17

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