EXFOR Basics:

A Short Guide to the Nuclear Reaction Data Exchange Format

Victoria McLane


This manual is intended as a guide to users of nuclear reaction data compiled in the EXFOR format, and is not intended as a complete guide to the EXFOR System. EXFOR is the exchange format designed to allow transmission of nuclear reaction data between the Nuclear Reaction Data Centers (NRDC). In addition to storing the data and its bibliographic information, experimental information is also compiled. The status (e.g., the source of the data) and history (e.g., date of last update) of the data set is also included.

EXFOR is designed for flexibility in order to meet the diverse needs of the nuclear reaction data centers. It was originally conceived for the exchange of neutron data and was developed through discussions among personnel from centers situated in Saclay, Vienna, Livermore and Brookhaven. It was accepted as the official exchange format of the neutron data centers at Saclay, Vienna, Brookhaven and Obninsk, at a meeting held in November 1969. As a result of two meetings held in 1975 and 1976 and attended by several charged-particle data centers, the format was further developed and adapted to cover all nuclear reaction data.

The exchange format should not be confused with a center-to-user format. Although users may obtain data from the centers in the EXFOR format, other center-to-user formats have been developed to meet the needs of the users within each center's own sphere of responsibility. The EXFOR format, as outlined, allows a large variety of numerical data tables with explanatory and bibliographic information to be transmitted in a format:

  • that is machine-readable (for checking and indicating possible errors);
  • that can be read by personnel (for passing judgement on and correcting errors).

The data presently included in the EXFOR exchange file include:

  • a "complete" compilation of experimental neutron-induced reaction data,
  • a selected compilation of charged-particle-induced reaction data,
  • a selected compilation of photon-induced reaction data.
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Last Modified: January 13, 2012