Policies and guidelines for the Transmission Electron Microscopy Lab of the BYU Physics and Astronomy Department
TEM Lab Access
All persons that intend to use the TEM microscopy facility must apply with the Physics and Astronomy Department office for access to the underground laboratory facility. A record of users will be kept by the TEM Lab Manager to be used by the BYU Microscopy Lab for billing the appropriate budget for microscope usage. It is the user’s responsibility to keep track of changes to the access codes.
All users must successfully complete the TEM training course before they are permitted to use the microscope or book time on the microscope. The training consists of 6 two-hour sessions of both lecture and hands-on instruction. The first two-hour session consists of a lecture going over the fundamentals of the instrument and of microscopy in general. The next two-hour session is conducted by the lab manager to groups of 3 or 4 potential users. This session will go over the steps of getting started, microscope alignment, basic operation, the imaging plate system, and the condition in which to leave the microscope and other information on the usage of the instrument. For the third two-hour session individuals or groups of two are given a simple assignment to complete on the microscope. The lab manager will be in the lab to answer questions, but the users must complete the assignment on their own. Then there is another two-hour lecture-type course which will go into greater detail on the subjects of diffraction contrast imaging, high-resolution imaging and diffraction. The next two-hour session is again conducted by the lab manager to groups of 3 or 4 potential users. This session will go over bright-field and dark-field imaging, diffraction, and high-resolution imaging. For the final two-hour session individuals or groups of two are given another simple assignment to complete on the microscope. The final sessions are intended to demonstrate to the lab manager that the user is capable of running the microscope on his/her own. Once the training is successfully completed, the users TEM lab ID number is given clearance to allow the user to book time on the microscope during lab operating hours (9am to 5pm).
The training will be held once per semester to at least 4 potential users. If there are fewer than four people signed up for the microscopy training course, it may be postponed until four have signed up.
If and when available, an approved microscopy class for credit can be taken in lieu of the lectures and group labs of the training course as long as the following requirements are met: 1. the microscopy class has an associated microscopy lab; 2. no less than 6 hours of hands-on instruction is given on the operation of a similar model TEM; 4. Each student separately demonstrates to the lab manager, in a two-hour session, proficiency in the use of the TEM.
Potential users are encouraged to take the training course, where possible, with people of similar microscopy experience or skill level.
TEM User Levels
Users are separated into four levels according to their experience and ability on the microscope. Each level is given a different number of privileges and a different number of responsibilities.
Level one users are those persons who have applied for access to the TEM lab, and therefore have a TEM lab ID number, but have either not yet taken the training course or do not intend to take the training course and will only “use” the microscope in the presence of a level 3 user (the level 3 user is actually the operator for the level 1 user). Level 1 users will have access to the sample prep equipment. Level 1 users do not have access to the TEM lab’s online reservation pages.
Level two users are those that have successfully completed the TEM training course. They will have access to the microscopes, sample prep equipment, and imaging equipment during normal lab hours. They will have access to the TEM lab’s online reservation pages. They will not have after-hours access.
Level three users are those that have not only completed the training course but have also spent considerable time using the microscopes. They have demonstrated the ability to follow the procedures, work without supervision, and they have the ability to recognize when someone should be called (more importantly, when a call is not necessary).
Level three status will be given on a case-by-case basis by the lab manager. They will have after-hours access to the TEM lab as well as the microscopes. They will therefore have been trained for after-hours emergencies and have access to a schedule that will be for reserving the microscope after hours. The online schedule must also be used if the TEM session overlaps normal lab hours (9am to 5pm).
Level four are considered “power users” of the microscopes. They are not exempt from any of the policies, but they have full access to the microscopes and can sign into the computer for and act as an operator for an untrained user (if the untrained user has a TEM lab ID number of course). A level four user is also qualified to teach the training course (the lab manager must still conduct the final two-hour session for final approval). Level four users also must allow for the occasional after-hours call (a list of phone numbers of level four users will be provided to after-hours users in case of major problems or emergencies. Therefore, level four users will have been trained in basic maintenance (the microscopes are under service contract with FEI Co., so this training consist mostly of knowing what should and should not be done to the microscope when there are problems, and who to call to fix any problems).
TEM Lab Reservation or sign up
Reservations for the microscope are made on a “first come first served” basis. Reservations can be made via the website by any level two or higher user (//microscopy.byu.edu/schedules/).Others who wish to make use of the microscope (either as part of the training course or as an “outside” user) need to call the Lab Manager to have reservations made for them. The following rules apply to microscope reservations:
1. The microscope can be reserved for a minimum of two hours and a maximum of a 24-hour block of time (only level 3 users and higher can reserve the microscope for after-hours use).
2. Reservations must be cancelled 48 hours before the scheduled reservation time.
3. Users must be on time to their microscope sessions. If a user is not in the lab15 minutes after the scheduled reservation time, the user is considered a “no show” and treated as such.
4. Users that are using imaging plates or film will need to allow for time at the end of their session to remove and replace the plates in the film chamber of the microscope. For an experienced user this process can take as much as 20 minutes.
5. A user who does not show up for their booked microscope session is billed for the full amount of microscope time which they had reserved.
6. The sample preparation equipment is also “first come first served.” Although there will be a sign-up page on the web for the PIPs to allow all users equal access.
**Abuse of the microscope reservation system will result in restriction of TEM lab privileges.
Billing for Microscope Use
Please see the TEM Lab Manager for hourly rates for the microscope. Sample prep equipment usage is first come first served, and there is no charge for the use of the equipment. Use of consumables and other supplies will be charged whatever price for which the Lab Manager was able to purchase them. However, please don’t think of the lab as a “store” for TEM supplies. Once you know what you need, please purchase it for your own use and bring it with or keep it in the sample prep lab.
Questions? See the Lab Manager