MSA / MAS / AMAS HyperDimensional Data File

About HMSA

The MSA / MAS / AMAS HyperDimensional Data File (HMSA, for short) is intended to be a common format to permit the exchange of hyper-dimensional microscopy and microanalytical data between different software applications. The expected applications include:

  • hyper-spectral maps (e.g. XEDS, EELS, CL),
  • 'hyper-image' maps (e.g. EBSD, CBED),
  • 3-dimensional maps (e.g. FIB serial section),
  • time resolved microscopy, and
  • tomographic microscopy.

In addition to storing hyperdimensional data, the HMSA file format is suitable for storing conventional microscopy and microanalysis data such as spectra and images, as well as experimental conditions and other metadata.


The October 2014 draft specification for the HMSA file format is available here.

Example files

A small collection of example HMSA/XML files, based on the March 2014 draft specification, are available for download.

Library implementations

Libraries of classes and functions for creating, loading and manipulating HMSA files are available in the C++ and Python programming languages:

  • libhmsa (C++), by Aaron Torpy (CSIRO Australia)
  • pyHMSA (Python), by Philippe Pinard (RWTH Aachen University)


The MSA/MAS/AMAS HyperDimensional Data File format specification is being developed by the Standards Committee of the Microscopy Society of America (MSA), chaired by Nestor J. Zaluzec, with contributions from members of the MSA, the Microanalysis Society (MAS), and the Australian Microbeam Analysis Society (AMAS). The draft specification is based on contributions from:

  • Nestor J. Zaluzec (Argonne National Laboratory)
  • Mike Kundmann (e-Metrikos)
  • Nicholas C. Wilson (CSIRO Australia)
  • Aaron Torpy (CSIRO Australia)
  • Colin M. MacRae (CSIRO Australia)
  • Philippe T. Pinard (RWTH Aachen University)

To comment on or contribute to the development of the MSA/MAS/AMAS HyperDimensional Data File, please use the HMSA discussion group, or contact the Standards Committee chair, Nestor J. Zaluzec.

Publications / presentations

  • M. Kundmann et al., Microscopy and Microanalysis, 17 Suppl. 2, (2011) 860. Doi: 10.1017/S1431927611005174
  • N. Wilson et al., Proceedings of APMC 10 / ICONN 2012 / ACMM 22, 6-9 Feb., 2012, Perth, Western Australia, 773-1.
  • N. J. Zaluzec et al., MSA/MAS/AMMS Hyper-dimensional Data File Format - An Update, Microscopy and Microanalysis, 18, Suppl. 3 (2012).
  • A. Torpy et al., MSA/MAS/AMAS Hyper-dimensional Data File Format - An Update, Proceedings of AMAS XII, 4-8 Feb., 2013, Sydney, Australia, 76-77.