User Rules

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.

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. Anyone is eligible to reserve and use these instruments after the training requirements have been met, but should not schedule time on instruments on which they have not been trained. Training received by anyone other than MCL staff on the MCL instrument (such as from friends, or on other machines) is invalid.

Equipment time must be reserved in advance, using the online reservation system. When the instruments are available, reservations may be made at any time prior to starting a measurement, although at least one-hour advanced notice is recommended since some instruments need to warm up and stabilize prior to use. At least 24 hours’ notice is recommended if operator assistance and consultation are requested.

Cancellation of a reservation requires 1 hour’s advance notice. If a cancellation is needed less than 1 hour before the scheduled start time, the user must cancel their reservation by coming in or calling the lab directly. If the reservation is not canceled before it starts, the user will be charged for the full 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, the PI 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 asset protection concerns.

X-ray use
Before being trained on either of our X-ray diffractometers (XRD), users are required to pass the Analytical X-ray Radiation Safety Training Course that includes an online portion and in-person session, usually offered once a month. More information can be found at the Radiological Safety Office’s website. Off-campus users or those without a UID should contact us directly to get access to this training.

User accounts
Each user within a research group will be required to obtain a personal user account and password for the Cores website and online reservation system. Use of the MCL and its equipment is not allowed until an account has been established.

Account setup and use information

Machine Errors
Users should notify the MCL staff immediately if there are any issues with the equipment and accessories’ condition and any problems that arise during use. Users may be charged 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 at least one month.

Data Transfer
Due to several instances of viruses on lab equipment, personal USB drives are prohibited in the lab computers. The lab maintains a set of USB drives that can be used to transfer data between lab computers. These USB drives should in no situation be placed in personal computers or laptops. 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 both users and our internal computers to remain free of viruses.

Billing Policies

The billing rates for the equipment, operator assistance, and consumables are found on the rates page. There are separate rates for University of Utah users (internal), other government-funded entities (external, federally funded), and off-campus (external, industry) users. This rate is set by university policy and is non-negotiable. Usage and billing are compiled at the beginning of each month.

Invoice Attribution
All events will be billed to the person who schedules them unless explicitly stated otherwise. If a group or account has more than one user, each user is responsible to schedule events for themselves.