ANNUAL REVIEW OF MATERIALS RESEARCH, VOL 45, vol.45, pp.217-248, 2015 (SCI-Expanded)
In recent years, two important advances have opened new doors for the characterization and determination of magnetic structures. Firstly, researchers have produced computer-readable listings of the magnetic or Shubnikov space groups. Secondly, they have extended and applied the superspace formalism, which is presently the standard approach for the description of nonmagnetic incommensurate structures and their symmetry, to magnetic structures. These breakthroughs have been the basis for the subsequent development of a series of computer tools that allow a more efficient and comprehensive application of magnetic symmetry, both commensurate and incommensurate. Here we briefly review the capabilities of these computation instruments and present the fundamental concepts on which they are based, providing various examples. We show how these tools facilitate the use of symmetry arguments expressed as either a magnetic space group or a magnetic superspace group and allow the exploration of the possible magnetic orderings associated with one or more propagation vectors in a form that complements and goes beyond the traditional representation method. Special focus is placed on the programs available online at the Bilbao Crystallographic Server (http://www.cryst.ehu.es).