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 HMSA file specification is now available from the MSA Standards and Scientific Data website at:

Example files

A small collection of example HMSA/XML files, based on the November 2016 specification (v1.01), 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
  • pyHMSA (Python), by Philippe Pinard


The MSA/MAS/AMAS HyperDimensional Data File format specification was 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), including:

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

Please address questions or comments on the MSA/MAS/AMAS HyperDimensional Data File to 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.
  • A. Torpy et al., Microscopy and Microanalysis 19, Suppl. 2 (2013), pp830-831. DOI: 10.1017/S1431927613006144.