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The intent of Electron Microscopy Facility policies is to assure

  • A safe workplace for staff, clients, and visitors
  • Compliance with University business practices
  • Equitable research and teaching access
  • Effective management

Facility policy is set by our Steering Committee. We endeavor to minimize burdensome rules and regulations; policy is structured to keep operational procedures and Facility access and use fair, uniform, and clearly understandable. Day-today policy matters are managed by Facility staff.

Please review all EM Facility policies before working in our lab.

By registering as a new user and requesting training on-line from the "On-line booking" menu, students and faculty members agree to abide by the Facility's operating policies. During registration, an active index number is required.

University policy requires campus services to recover their operating costs through charges to projects using these services. The OSU Electron Microscopy Facility therefore makes charges for use of equipment, supplies, and services provided by EMF staff. The University Administrative Business Center (UABC) manages EMF's accounting details. Bills for our services are payable within 60 days of invoice.

No free work. The old policy of beam credit from training was found not consistent with University policy and was discontinued.

Special equipment added to our microscopes. This must be cleared by a consensus opinion of the Director, Instrument manager and the vendor field service engineer. Arbitration would go to the steering committee and the assistant Dean of Research in Science and Engineering. But we have yet to see a case where arbitration was needed.

If adjustments for technical reasons are justified, instrument time, materials and services will be provided on a replacement basis at no charge. Compensation is made by replacement of time, materials, or effort, not by reduction of charges.

Damage to equipment will be assessed by the vendors service engineer. If the service engineer determines damage is from user negligence, eg a pole piece crash, users department will be notified and asked to assist in repairs. So, please pay attention in training, focus link and move and then no pole piece crashes!

Direct use of laboratory equipment is permitted to qualified university faculty and graduate students. Undergraduate students participating in active research program are also permitted direct Facility use after they have received proper training and received direct use authorization. For security and risk management reasons, clients not affiliated with the university should make a use authorization request to the Facility Director or the Instrument manager.

All direct use of instruments and equipment is contingent upon the competency and responsibility of the user and is up to the discretion of the Facility Director, who has authority to deny or revoke privileges. Users are asked to adhere to normal courtesy, cleanliness, and safety standards. Safety procedures must be followed if dangerous materials are used.

After-hours access is granted to internal users that have demonstrated competence. Please ask the director or Instrument manager for permission we will then confer amongst ourselves and make a decision. The decision has to be unanimous. If the student or faculty needs additional training we will help with that or come up with a plan so they can satisfy us that they can now “fly solo.”

University users qualified to do their own specimen preparation or microscopy may be allowed access to the Facility during non-business hours. For reasons of security, non-university users are normally not given access during those times that the building is closed. Persons wishing to use the laboratory during evenings or weekends should obtain permission from the Facility Director.

A half hour charge is made for the second missed appointment. One warning is issued if you miss the first apointment after that there is a charge. We prefer users schedule the equipment and to cancel when necessary, rather than expecting availability on demand.

Users are asked to accurately record their instrument usage in the logbooks found next to the instruments.

Specialized Equipment

Diamond knives, diamond saw blade and other specialized equipment are not provided by the Facility. If the extensive use of diamond knives, specialized stages or other devices is anticipated, investigators should purchase and maintain them through their own budgets. Our staff will assist in the selection and evaluation of diamond knives or other specialized equipment of known reliability compatible with the relevant instrumentation. Arrangements for housing specialized equipment at the laboratory are negotiable.

Quality Control

The laboratory staff have authority to make quality control decisions on technical quality of work done in the Facility. Materials rejected by the staff for quality reasons become the property of the laboratory. We will then help you acquire quality images or prepare samples properly. Decisions about quality are limited to parameters of photography, microscopy, and suitability of sample preparations. The investigator is responsible for evaluating the scientific merits of the results, and for interpreting the results of sample preparation and sample suitability. Technically acceptable results are charged for regardless of the usefulness of the results to the investigator.

Acknowledgements and Authorship

We ask our TEM customers to acknowledge the National Sciecnce foundation, and Murdock charitable trust, per the handout available near the TEM remote computer on the large table in conference room. When you publish, please acknowledge the Facility and give us a link to your publication so we can put it on the website.

In the event of malfunction, damage, or dissatisfaction with some aspect of instrument performance, report the condition immediately to the Facility staff.

Do Not Attempt to Service any Instrument

Users are not held responsible for routine difficulties with equipment. However, repair or replacement of damaged equipment caused by unauthorized attempted service, negligence, or mishandling may be charged at full cost to the users account, and may be grounds for suspension of privileges.

Compensation is not given for scope time used by an operator when an instrument is malfunctioning as it is expected that persons qualified to operate the equipment will be sufficiently knowledgeable and responsible to terminate their use and report the problem to the staff.


Please do not use computers that support instruments to explore internet. You may, however, access the campus network from an instrument computer if necessary.

File Storage

After training, users may create a folder in which to save their research data. It is the user's responsibility to backup their data, though we try to store client data as long as possible (usually several years) to insure against data being lost or compromised by a computer system.

File Transfer

The new server is called .dri. Links for the .dri server are on every computer except the Quanta 3D as its XP based and IT services is working on that. Until then the Quanta 3D uses our old server, SEM-NAS

Use of Radioactive Substances

Campus Radiation Safety requires compliance to regulations for use of uranium compounds for positive and negative contrast staining. Effective 01 January 1994, clients who use uranium compounds in positive or negative staining protocols or who use other radioactive substances must comply with the following, which apply to all uranium or radioactive compound use within the Facility, even if the use is only one drop per year.

  1. The Radiation Safety Office (RSO) has issued a Radiation Use Authorization (RUA) for work with uranium/radioactive compounds in the EM Facility, specific to 145B Linus Pauling Science Center;
  2. To use uranium compounds to stain specimens the user must have completed a prescribed four hour RSO class. The class is offered one on one with the radiation safety officer David Horn (as of Winter 2023).
  3. To use uranium compounds in protocols clients also need a Radiation Use Authorization (RUA). Your permit should cover your work with uranium compounds in EMF and other location where you'll store or use uranium or radioactive compounds. Please note: RSO and EMF cooperatively verify compliance in RSO training and RUA requirements.
  4. Clients who prefer to maintain their own solutions need to obtain their own compound inventory in accordance with RSO regulations. EMF cannot sell or otherwise provide (transfer) powder or liquid uranium compounds to you. (Many uranium compounds can be purchased at RSO). Clients must store their own radioactive compound inventories at other authorized locations outside EMF and are responsible for their own compound inventory, its storage, use, disposal, and dissemination.
  5. Clients who use their own solutions need to produce those solutions from their dry compound inventory. Please identify all solutions with your name, % solute compound/solvent, and mix date. A client's solutions may be used in EMF and stored in our refrigerator or other EMF assigned storage location. Clients have the option to keep their solutions at other authorized locations outside EMF. Clients are responsible for their solution inventory, its storage, use, and dissemination.
  6. Radiation monitor, identification tape, spill mats, tray, and gloves are provided in 145B Linus Pauling Science Center for general use. Clients may provide their own safety and handling materials.
  7. Radioactive material used in EMF should be disposed of at EMF. Permitted for disposal are dry (powders, gloves, filter paper, pipettes) or liquid (acetone, alcohol, water solutions) waste to be put in our identified containers.
  8. Individuals using wet or dry uranium or other radioactive compounds in 145B Linus Pauling Science Center are personally responsible for compliance, monitoring, and recording of their radioactive materials use AND DISPOSAL on forms provided by EMF. Nothing recorded on an EMF form relieves one from compliance with documentations required by their RUA.
  9. Radiation compliance surveys are made and logged by the Facility Manager.
  10. Accounts of clients using radioactive compounds may be billed a small quarterly fee covering radiation control safety materials, monitoring programs, and waste disposal.
  11. EMF maintains stocks of uranium solutions in refrigerated storage for routine general use in the facility. Please discuss your needs with EMF staff.
OSU price book

Instructions: Enter "centers and institutes" then "interdepartmental electron microscope facility"

Simple summary as of March, 2018

We try to keep the same rate as other regional Universities but some rates are higher at OSU because all four SEM's and our TEM are under service contract with FEI-TFS. Another reason for our prices our accurate cost accounting. And, costs are determined by usage. Use the tools more and the costs will go down next year.

Please contact the Director of the Facility for details or questions