A Program for the Visualization of Reciprocal Space


Jim Britten (Crystallographer)

Weiguang Guan (Research Scientist)

MAX3D is a software package designed to read a series of 2D diffraction images and provide a visualization of a solid volume of reciprocal space. Tools are included to:


adjust the opacity as a function of intensity,

to zoom and rotate,


to examine slices or 2q shells,



identify 2q and fractional hkl points,


and reload subsections of reciprocal space at higher resolution.

reload1a reload2a

Academic users may obtain a free license for MAX3D by contacting Jim Britten.

A commercial license for MAX3D is available from flintbox . Register at the flintbox site , and they will handle the formalities. A charge will apply to help defray the cost of software development. MAX3D has been compiled and tested for Windows and Linux platforms. It currently reads frames from Bruker's SMART, APEX and GADDS detectors, Stoe's IP. The Rigaku/Dectris P200K detector will be included in the next update.  A MAX3D User Manual is available on-line. i

Funding is provided by McMaster University and Sharcnet. We would like to acknowledge Mark Hollingsworth of Kansas State University and Joe Ferrara of Rigaku Americas Corporation for development support.



Current stable version is 3.0

Windows 64bit (v3.0)

Windows 32bit (v3.0)



Last stable version is 2.5.

Windows 32bit (v2.5)

Windows 64bit( v2.5)



Unzip the downloaded zip file. Run MAX3D.msi and follow the installation wizard. The default location (if you don't change it) is "C:\Program Files\McMaster University\MAX3D".

If you get an error message saying "this program failed to start because its side-by-side configuration is incorrect",

install the VC++ 2005 redistributable package for 32-bit,

or the VC++ 2008 redistributable package for 64-bit.


When you first execute MAX3D, you will be asked to fill in the activation form. Make sure that your computer has network access, enter your activation key, and submit. 


Reference for MAX3D: IUCr Commission on Crystallographic Computing Newsletter No. 8, November 2007, 96-108.