The Materials Characterization Lab is a University Core Facility. To ensure the smooth operation of the facility and compliance with University regulations, we have established the following set of user rules. Failure to abide by these rules while in the lab may lead to suspension of lab access.

Please review our additional rules during the COVID-19 pandemic:

User Rules

Users must undergo mandatory training in order to obtain instrument access. Separate training is required for each instrument and must be arranged individually with the lab manager. After you have met training requirements, you may reserve and use these instruments. Do not schedule time on instruments on which you have not been trained. Training received by anyone other than MCL staff on the MCL instrument (such as from friends, on other machines, or in other labs) is invalid. Please see our How It Works page to see more options for using the MCL.
Users must reserve equipment time in advance using the online reservation system.

You may cancel reservations online up to one hour before the event begins. If you must cancel less than 1 hour before the scheduled start time, cancel your reservation by coming in or calling the lab directly. If if you do not cancel the reservation before it starts, you will be charged for the full machine time. Users with repeat short-notice cancellations may be charged for unused machine time.

If a user needs more time than anticipated, they are responsible to respect the next reservation on the instrument. If a user habitually reserves instrument time that goes unused, they may be billed for the unused time.

Sample handling
Each lab user is responsible to know and act in accordance with the hazards and dangers of their own sample. Users must clean up any messes or spills that they cause. Lab staff reserve the right to refuse service to anyone based on safety and/or protection concerns.
X-ray use
Users must pass the Analytical X-ray Radiation Safety Training Course before being trained on our X-ray diffractometers (XRD). This training is a two-part course. More information can be found at the Radiological Safety Office’s website. Off-campus users or those without an active UID should contact us directly to get access to this training.
User accounts
The MCL requires each user within a research group to obtain a personal user accountfor the Cores website and online reservation system. Your account must be properly established before you can use the MCL and its equipment.

Account setup information

Machine Errors
Users must read all computer popups fully before dismissing them and should screenshot them or leave them up if they indicate something is wrong. Notify the MCL staff immediately if there are any issues with the equipment or accessories’ condition and any problems that arise during use. The MCL reserves the right to charge users for damage to the instrument if it is found in an unacceptable state after use.
Data Retention
The Materials Characterization Lab (MCL) is not responsible for keeping copies of research data. Each user is responsible for the collection and preservation of their own data. As a courtesy to our users, the MCL will keep a copy of the data until the user has ample opportunity to transfer it to another computer. The MCL will retain copies of images and/or other data stored on our lab network for a minimum of one month.
Data Transfer
Due to several instances of viruses on lab equipment, the MCL prohibits personal USB drives in the lab computers. The MCL’s internal set of USB drives may be used to transfer data between lab computers. Never connect these USBs to a personal computer or device. To transfer data between lab computers and personal technology, speak with one of our lab staff, who will be happy to email your data to you. This allows users’ and lab computers to remain free of viruses.

Billing Policies

The billing rates for the equipment, operator assistance, and consumables are found on the rates page. University policy sets this rate which is non-negotiable. Our lab staff compile usage and billing at the end of each month. Cores personnel send invoices on the 1st or 2nd of each month from the address
After-hours pricing
After-hours pricing is available on all equipment between the hours of 5:00 pm and 9:00 am.

Equipment that requires an operator (such as the SEM, spectrophotometers, pycnometer, etc.) may be reserved for after-hours use by on-campus clients who have been trained on both the instrument and in proper safety protocols in the MCL. This use is only allowed from 5 pm to 9 am on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. No weekend access is allowed. The user must be present in the lab during the reserved time, and must have their samples finished before 9:00 the next morning (unless they have scheduled the machine into the next day). This access cannot be scheduled by the client, but must be coordinated and scheduled through a lab staff member.

Equipment that is capable of long scans (XRD, dilatometer, N2 adsorption) or can run autonomously (DSC, TGA) may be reserved for after-hours use by all clients. These scans must be started by 4:30pm on a business day, and may run into the evening or weekend. While these are running, the schedule must be reserved to reflect that fact. If the scan ends during after-hours time, the client must come in at 9:00 the next business day to remove the samples from the machine. If the scan ends during a business day, the client is responsible to be present when the scan finishes to remove the samples and clean up. Some scheduling and cleanup leniency may be provided for clients using machines that do not have a defined ending time (such as N2 adsorption).

Invoice Attribution
All events are billed to the person who schedules them. If a group or account has more than one user, each user is responsible to schedule events for themselves. Members of the same lab group may not schedule for one another.