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Instrument usage policy

1) You should not use IMRI facility when you are sick. You should wear proper PPE before using any instrument. Please treat personal safety and instrumental safety as your top priority when you are using the facilities.

2) The priority of instrument usage is instrument maintenance, teaching/group training and normal usage, ranging from high to low. Users may check the instrument status before going to the IMRI facilities. If the instrument is down, you may follow up with the IMRI facility blog for the latest update. You will not be charged for the reserved instrument sessions when it is down.

3) Users need to reserve an instrument in advance. Users can cancel their reservations free of charge without any reason as long as this is done 24 hrs before the reservated session starts. They cannot cancel their session within 24 hours of their reserved time by themselves. If users do need to cancel their sessions within the 24hrs, they must contact IMRI staff and there will be a no-show charge.  If users do not cancel their sessions and do not show up, they will be charged at the normal rate fully. 

4) Users need to start their sessions on time. If the user who reserves the instrument does not show up for 0.5 hr, other users may take over the session. An unused instrument fee will be applied if the reserved session does not start on time. If the instrument is occupied by the last user, current user has right to urge the last user to wrap up his/her experiment immediately. Please report to IMRI facility staff  if anyone does not allow you to use your reserved instrument. If you cannot find IMRI staff during off peak hours, you may call the director of IMRI facilities at 949-468-9980 directly. At the beginning of a session,  please check the log book and make sure that the instrument is in good working condition. At beginning of each session, users need to sign up clearly (no signature) on the logbook with a valid account number (UCI and UC users) or organization name (other users) and activate the control system (Login at the link  and enable your reserved instrument by clicking the control machine and then enable).  

5) Users should finish their sessions within their reserved time and properly log off or sign off.  You may continue to use the instrument only when no one reserves it after you.  If a user wants to use next user's reservation time even for a few minutes, he/she must get permission from the next user. The user must wrap up his/her experiment immediately and handle over the instrument to the next user without the permission of the next user. It is not allowed to leave samples in the instrument when the instrument is not used. Violating this rule may results in large bill or the sample damage.  During off-peak hours, users may leave a message to the log book and email staff for any incidents. 

6) Magnetic materials could cause problems (contaminating column) to our electron microscope. Magnetic powers are especially dangerous. Users need special permission and training from IMRI staff before loading them into electron microscopes (SEMs and TEMs). IMRI staff may examine the sample in advance and refuse the use of some magnetic samples in the EMs.

7) User must follow SOPs and staff instructions to use the instrument. Please report major instrument problem/damage to IMRI staff immediately by email or phone. For minor issues which could be corrected by users, users may leave a short comment in log book. Users and their PIs are responsible for the repair of the instrument when they cause the damage to the instrument. 

8) Users should respect each other. If there is any issue between users, they should report to IMRI staff and solve the issue with help of IMRI staff. 

9) After using the instrument, users need to leave it in a good condition and make the area tidy and clean. 

10) Users should save their data in the assigned space/disk and transfer their data to their storage space when finishing their experiments. Please note that the data may be saved in IMRI PC/server only for TWO weeks. Any data older than 2 two weeks may be deleted without further notice. USB drivers and users' hard drivers are not allowed to connect to any facility instruments and IMRI PCs. For 10Gb interwork in CTEM, Fillzella should be used to transfer data through IMRI data server (SOP is posted on the desktop of a workstation in 1150 EH). For normal internet connection in IMRI facilities, your UCI-related google drive can be used to transfer data when uciwebfiles do not work anymore. Please note that UCI faculty/staff/students may use unlimited google drive space. Users may contact UCI OIT help desk ( 4-2222) for further assistance if they  can not use UCI-related google drive. It is strongly advised that users should save at least two copies of their data. IMRI is not responsible for users' data safety.

11) Users are not allowed to use instrument computers to check their emails and connect to outside websites without permission of IMRI staff.

12) Users can only use their own account to get access to the instrument. It is forbidden to use other people accounts or let other users to use your accounts.

13)  The major computer PC monitor should be dark when you start your session. If it is lit, then the last user might forget to disable the system. In that case, you should contact IMRI staff to disable the controlling system first. You may then login to enable the controlling system.  If you do not follow this rule, your reserved time will be marked as no-show and your account may be charged more for no-show. 

14) Without IMRI staff approval, users are not allowed to install any software to IMRI computers or use any holders/accessaries that do not belong to IMRI.


Special policies for some instruments:


Reservation policy: 


Regular work hours: 
-limit of total reservation hours, 8 hours for external, and 16 hours for UCI users 

-Exception 2 to the policy: if the scope is available less than 3 days, anybody can book even if the user already booked maximum hours. 

Off peak hours between 8pm to 12am (only 24/7 users): 
-limit of total reservation hours, 8 hours for external, and 16 hours for UCI users 

-Exception 2 to the policy: if the scope is available less than 3 days, anybody can book even if the user already booked maximum hours. 

Off peak hours between 12am to 8am (only 24/7 users): 
-UCI users can book unlimited hours 
-External can reserve but 8 hour-limit still applies

*For this rule, 24/7 UCI users can book 16 hours between 8pm to 12am AND unlimited hours between 12am to 8am though external 24/7 users can book only 8 hours in off peak hours. 

Limit on advance reservations: 
-UCI users can reserve time up to 4 weeks in advance
-External users can reserve time up to 2 weeks in advance

Magellan SEM:

1) Magellan users may reserve the instrument three weeks in advance. Any reservation reserved more than 3 weeks in advance is not allowed and may be deleted without notice.
Users who know they will not use all of their reserved time can fill out this form and arrange for another user to use the time. If the form is filled out, any portion of the unused time that is used by another user will not be charged as a no-show or unused time. If you are waiting to use the SEM, please check this form. The first user to fill out the form gets the unused time. 
3) If you neither show up during your reserved time and nor sign up in the Google doc , you will be charged at the full rate. This is a modification to the billing & rates section on IMRI website.
4) The maximum reservation time for day time (9am-5pm) of one week (starting from the 3rd day) is 5hrs for one user.
5) The maximum reservation time for one week (starting from the 3rd day) is 8hrs for one person.
6) Users can reserve as much time as they like within 48 hrs which start from the time when the user places the reservation.
7) Users are not allowed to change the reservation history and delete/revise any reservation within 24hrs of the reserved time. Users’ account will be downgraded or disabled when there is any violation to these reservation rules.

FEI Quanta 3D:

  1. Basic SEM training is required before getting training for FIB, EDS, EBSD, ESEM, TEM/FIB sample preparation. Users may apply to get 24/7 access to the instrument after using SEM for more than 10hrs and pass the SEM competency test. Please e-mail Dr. Tran to arrange for a test.
  2. Please write down your full name and instrument function you use in the reservation calendar.
  3. CaSTL groups have priority to reserve Wed (9am-5pm), but if Wed time slots are still open on Tuesday, other users may reserve them.
  4. Reservations should not be more than 2 weeks in advance. Each user is limited to reserve 3hrs per day and 6hrs per week during normal working time (9am-5pm).
  5. Skillful users are encouraged to reserve sessions during off-peak time (8pm-8am) and weekends at a reduced rate.
  6. For long experiments (more than 3 hours), such as TEM-Prep: Please consider reserving one day-time session that can extend unlimitedly to off-hour time (early in the morning or at the end of the day).
  7. Users may cancel their sessions 24hrs in advance free of charge. Cancellation (partially or fully) of the reservation in less than 24 hrs will be charged at full rate. Please email Dr. Tran, and fill in the form here to report the unused time. If the unused time is used by another user, the charge will be exempted. Users waiting stand-by to use the Quanta3D are recommended to check this form first for the open time slot and fill in the form if you want to use the time.
  8. Users should never change the reservation records. Any violation may make their accounts disabled.
  9. For Omni probe users: Please indicate "Omni Probe use" in the "Summary" box of the reservation form and also in the log-in book with a note on the status of the Omni probe needle before and after use. Users will be charged for the replacement of the damaged Omni probe needle (consumable and staff time).
  10. For FIB users: The standby status of FIB is set at sleep. You need to press wake-up button to get the ion beam. It may take a few minutes to see that beam-on button is yellow. After using the FIB, please press sleep button to put it on sleep. The liquid ion source is very expensive, the new rule enables us to monitor the real use of the ion source and save it.


This instrument is optimized for FIB and TEM specimen preparation which normally take a long time to finish. The reservation  time should start at 9am in the morning to avoid wasting machine time.

Amstrong evaporator:

Automated Processing Process automation makes the Angstrom evaporator an exceptionally powerful tool. However, this added feature can make problems affecting your film or the instrument more likely. To mitigate these risks:
- Double-check new processes to ensure appropriate parameters have been defined (including using the correct film material in the Inficon 'Films' menu).
- Ensure that your Inficon 'films' have a maximum power setting no higher than 50%. Higher powers can potentially damage the instrument.
- Monitor your deposition parameters closely to ensure they are behaving as expected.

Ti films: IMRI does not plan to maintain a Ti crucible for all users to share. Users will instead be responsible for purchasing their own (FABMATE) crucible and Ti pellets or coordinating with another lab group. This should be reasonably economical given that most users seem to need Ti only in < 5 nm adhesion layers. If you are waiting for your purchased Ti materials to arrive, please continue using the existing Ti source for your adhesion layers so that your research is not impeded.

Digital logbook: Thank you for making an entry in the Google spreadsheet digital 'logbook' every time you deposit a film. Should you ever need to edit or review it, you can access it here:

Usage logging: Please continue to book and activate the machine using the IMRI booking system. Users should also make redundant entries in the paper usage log book next to the instrument while the billing systems transition.

Precious metals (e-beam): There has been good success using e-beam deposition for Au and Pd. FABMATE crucibles with thicker side walls have been effective in reducing the capacity (3.9 vs. 8.2 cc) and initial mass/cost of the source material. Kurt J. Lesker sells these (FABMATE EVCFABEB-13M) for $ 106.20/ea (with a 10% academic discount).
Precious metals (thermal): Thermal evaporation is an even more economical way of depositing some of these materials. A few Au pellets loaded into an open tungsten boat produced smooth depositions of Au films < 100 nm thick. Angstrom Engineering sells tungsten S3 style open boats for $ 12.25 but they are available though other suppliers too.
Al films (e-beam) For several reasons this is a frustrating material to deposit. Please contact one of the superusers for tips before attempting this deposition on the Angstrom evaporator.
Training waiting list .

Now that the sweep functioning has been repaired, e-beam energy may be distributed over larger surface areas than before. In order to achieve your desired deposition rate, you may find larger e-beam powers will be required than before to obtain the required source material heating. Please continue to monitor your deposition parameters closely during your processes and record them in the digital logbook. Increase maximum e-beam power limits slightly if required (but still not beyond 50%).

Do not make any other instrument modifications without advance permission.


Simpleware software:

1) To get access to the software, you need to sign up here and inform Dr. Zheng
2) At one time, only one user can use the software. So users must reserve the software time before using it within the reserved time.

3) A user must enable the reserved session before using the software license and the software and disable the session by end of the session.
3) In one week, one user is allowed only for 8hrs during daytime ( 9am-5pm) and 8 hrs during other time ( 5pm-9am).
 If there are any empty slots in recent 48 hrs, any users may reserve these slots without any limitation even though the user reserves the software for 16 hrs from 3rd day.
4) if a user violates the rules, he/she may be banned for certain time ( two weeks to two months) depending on the problem caused by the violation. 


JEOL 2100 TEM:

1) We would like to emphasize that inserting an OL aperture always has a risk of aperture blade hitting a holder, especially a third vendor holder such as Gatan being used. JEOL holders have software safety when a holder is tilted more than a limit, the OL aperture does not go in, but the safety does not work for others, such as Gatan holders. Please be aware of this risk when using OL aperture.
2) We recommend to use a HC aperture instead. The HC aperture goes in under the pole piece gap. It is safe to use any time and any holder. 
3) Also the OL aperture needs to be open during sample exchange. Remember to remove the OL aperture before taking TEM holder out.
4) Please save your images on this disk (E:) instead of the system disk (C:).  The disk E is a 1TB disk installed on 2100F for data storage. 

2100F TEM reservation rules:

-A user can reserve up to 8 hours per week in regular hours and additional 8 hours in the after hours within 5 weeks.

-Exception 1 to the policy: if someone has an urgent project that needs results quickly, the user can get pre-approved by IMRI and make additional reservations. 

-Exception 2 to the policy: if the scope is available less than 7 days, anybody can book even if the user already booked maximum hours. 

-Reservations cannot be made more than 5 weeks ahead of time. 

-Also in case of last minute cancellation, anybody can take the slot. 



JEOL 2800 TEM rules:


-A user can reserve up to 8 hours at one time during regular hours and additional 8 hours in the after hours in advance within 5 weeks.

-Exception 1 to the policy: if someone has an urgent project that needs results quickly, the user can get pre-approved by IMRI and make additional reservations. 

-Exception 2 to the policy: if the scope is available less than 3 days, anybody can book even if the user already booked maximum hours. 

-Reservations cannot be made more than 5 weeks ahead of time. 

-Also in case of last minute cancellation, anybody can take the slot. 


-All users must plasma-clean their sample. If your samples does not withstand plasma, please talk to IMRI staff and get an approval first. The holder must be cleaned with plasma cleaner.

The vacuum must be better than 2.0 x 10-5 Pa before you open the beam valve.  All users must follow this rule, no exception.

- If the chamber pressure does not drop below 2.0 x 10-5Pa within 5 minutes after a holder is inserted, the first O-ring could be dirty. Please take out the holder and inspect the O-ring. If this persists, you must stop your session and consult with IMRI staff.

-We emphasize that the first O-ring must be cleaned thoroughly by our standard and it should happen after a plasma cleaning and right before you insert a holder. Use a pair of round tipped tweezers to pick  up fibers. Be gently and do not scratch the O-ring. Every time you pick up something, clean the tweezers’ tip with clean lens tissue paper.