Rules & Regulations

We have some simple rules about using the Facility, microscope booking and working safely in the EM Facility, particularly out-of-hours.

These rules apply to the David Cockayne Centre (DCCEM) in the Holder Building, Parks Rd and the equipment provided by the DCCEM facilities in the Hirsch Building on the Begbroke Science Park.

Most rules are a matter of common sense and courtesy, but please note the following:



You must adhere to all Health and Safety rules. There is a section on Safety and Security on the Department website.

Food and drink may not be taken into any part of the EM Facility. While booked on a microscope in the evening or at the weekend, you may use the Holder Common Room for refreshments. To obtain swipe card access to the Common Room, please speak to Engineering Reception. If you are working on the instruments at Begbroke, there are seating areas and a kitchen provided where food and drink may be consumed.

Children under 16 are only allowed into microscope areas by permission of The Director of the EM Facility.

Liquid Nitrogen - Liquid nitrogen is provided for use on the microscopes and is monitored by facility staff. Do not attempt to use liquid nitrogen without training from EM Facility staff. Users must follow all training guidlines including the use of PPE.  Users must not decant LN2 for use by others unless pre-authorised by Neil Young.

Sample Preparation - access to sample preparation is subject to users being approved to use equipment during working hours and out of hours as for the microscopes. Usage of the sample preparation facilities is subject to the Sample Preparation Lab Rules

Out of Hours Only those users authorised to work out of hours (see below) may access equipment outside of normal working hours. If you work out-of-hours, try to make contact with other users in the EM area, or else inform someone where you are. You can check who else is booked on instruments by consulting the on-line booking system. When working out-of-hours, never attempt new procedures with equipment.

You should usually plan to finish at Begbroke before 9.30pm when University Security Service start to lock the buildings. To work later than 10pm, you must plan ahead and phone Security earlier in the evening (circa 6pm); they will then postpone locking the building until you have finished and left. If you work late without telling them, they may have to return to finish locking up, and this extra visit by them is charged to the department. University Security phone numbers for Parks Rd: general 01865 272944, for emergencies 01865 289999.



These rules are designed to help users to get a fair share of the time on a microscope. No rules are perfect, so we also ask people to use common sense and courtesy:

To operate any instrument, you must have received appropriate instruction. We have a number of different levels of users for any microscope and these are listed alongside the electronic booking webpages. These are instrument specific. User status does not commute between instruments.

Provisional (P) users are those being trained. They may book instruments only when their instructor is available on-site to help them.

Approved (A) users have passed the basic driving test. They may book the instrument alone during normal working hours, which are weekdays from 9am to 5pm (not including public holidays, which we advise about in advance). Users may operate the instruments within the bounds of their training.  Operation of instruments on beahlf of others (e.g. other research group members) is not permitted unless pre-authorised by Neil Young.

Out of Hours (O) trusted and experienced users who have the privilege of using the instruments outside of normal working hours. These users will have will have used the instrument many times and proved themselves to be productive, efficient and safe users of the instrument. 

If you haven't used an instrument for a prolonged period (around 6 months), we may downgrade your status, depending on your level of experience. 

Please start your session promptly. Sessions not taken up within 30 minutes of the scheduled start will be offered to other users, and charges may still stand. 

Do plan your work in advance, so samples are ready in time and avoid speculative bookings ("I may have a sample ready by then").

Do try to use the microscopes as efficiently as possible, as the instruments are heavily subscribed. 

Cancellations - Please give as much notice of a cancellation as possible. If you cannot use a booked session, please (i) send message to the relevant instrument email list (ii) cancel your entry on the booking system (or ask Facility Staff to cancel it for you) (iii) if necessary, tell the person using the microscope before your cancelled session that they need to shutdown or apply an ACD heater.

Unallocated sessions: If there are free sessions or cancellations on an instrument within the following 24 hours users may book and use that free session even if they already have booked their full allocation.

Training bookings - those training new users should book sessions in the name of the trainee with the appropriate cost centre information include, and the trainer's name in the booking notes. 

Restrictions for booking particular instruments are found at the top of each instrument's page on the ilab solutions booking system. Extra bookings beyond the allowed limit may be authorised in advance by the EM Facility Staff. These will appear as booking notes. 

Book only for yourself Do not book with your name in order that someone else can take that session.

Finishing a session - you should leave the microscope in an appropriate condition, as outlined during your training, and you should also check whether someone has booked the session after you on the instrument.




You must make an entry in the microscope logbook each time you use an instrument, giving a brief note about the work done., detectors used etc and any problems encountered.

Electron Microscopy - Everyone using instruments or sample preparation equipment in the EM facility must be included on the EM Facility mailing lists for general notices, and also the instrument specific lists. 

Always report all faults immediately. Please make a note in the logbook and by e-mail to If a fault occurs during working hours, ask for help. If a fault occurs out-of-hours, the main thing is to leave the microscope secure and safe, and report the fault immediately.

Always use the provided gloves when loading specimens and anything else that goes into the microscope. Leave the room clean and tidy.

No modifications can be carried out on any equipment without explicit approval from the relevant Support Scientist or EM Facility Management. 

If you would like to modify or develop aspects of the instrument or customise sample holders, you must discuss your plans with the relevant Support Scientist at an early stage.

Computers - Desktop computers in the microscope rooms are classified as part of the microscope, and consequently you should not interfere with the connections on the PC. You should not use USB sticks / portable hard drives for transfer of data as all PCs are connected to networked storage drives (Z drive on windows PCs, more information see the EM - IT section) which is where you may store your data prior to transfer. If you have any issues with the PCs or software queries, please consult a member of the EM Facility staff.

Group purchased consumables, sample stubs and holders etc should be approved by EM facility staff before use.

Do not carry out major alignments or adjustments outside of the training you have been given.

Never be afraid to ask for help. During working hours, Monday to Friday 9am-5pm, there is generally a member of the EM Facility on hand at Parks Rd and at Begbroke. You can usually find them either in the EM Offices or by following instructions on the notice board outside the offices.

Finally, if you've got suggestions or complaints, please bring them to the Director or any other member of the EM Facility. Do not just grumble to other users!


EM Facility, February 2017