scripting tools for streamlined laboratory automation
labbench module provides tools for instrument automation and data management in scripted lab experiments.
A device driver implemented with labbench is a light wrapper around another instrument control library. This means another library (like pyvisa, pyserial, libtelnet, or even a C or .NET DLL) provides low-level routines. The labbench abstraction provides several benefits:
- automatic acquisition logging into an SQLite database,
- automatically-generated jupyter notebook monitoring widgets,
- interact with settings and data on remote devices with native python data types (instead of strings),
- python exceptions on invalid device state settings (instead of silent failure),
- drivers provide consistent style and API conventions for easy scripting (hello, tab completion!),
- ensure devices disconnect properly when acquisition completes (even on exceptions), and
- conversion of vector or tabular data to pandas Series or DataFrame objects for rapid exploration of data.
Together, these features help to minimize the amount of "copy-and-paste" code that can make your lab automation scripts error-prone and difficult to maintain. The python code that results can be clear, concise, reusable and maintainable, and provide consistent formatting for stored data. The result helps researchers to meet NIST's open data obligations, even for complicated, large, and heterogeneous datasets.
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