Microscopy and Imaging Center
University of Mississippi

SEM User Policy

General guidelines

  • All users, including students, faculty, staff and co-investigators, are treated equally with equal priority.
  • Only authorized users can use the SEM facility. To gain access to the SEM lab, all UM users must complete safety training for radiation generating devices provided by Laboratory Services. Successful completion of annual retraining is required for continued authorization.
  • All users must follow lab safety protocols. No food or drink is allowed in the facility at any time.
  • Please sign-in the log book upon entering the SEM lab and sign-off just before exiting the lab.
  • All users must wear gloves when handling and preparing the samples. Wear new clean gloves when operating the instrument. Please do not touch the instruments barehand or with dirty gloves.
  • Do not change the instrument settings and never attempt to fix any equipment problems. In case of any problems, contact us as soon as possible.
  • Users are responsible for their data. Data and images should be transferred from the computer to portable media promptly.
  • Do not download, install or upload any programs or files onto MIC computers. Do not delete or move any data or images, including your files, from the MIC computers.
  • Following each SEM session, the lab should be vacated promptly to allow other users to use the facility. The lab and equipment should be clean, operational and in the original configuration. Time required for clean up after a user and the time needed to correct any problems due to changes made in the configuration by a user may be billed to the user.
  • Causes for loss of access to SEM core facility can include but are not limited to:
    • using your identity to sign up for another user
    • inappropriate use of the equipment and facility
    • failure to clean-up an area after working
    • violation of safety regulations within the lab
    • non-payment of SEM facility usage fees in a timely manner
  • Repair and replacement costs for any damage to instruments caused by the user would be billed to the Principal Investigator.
  • Regular operating hours are Monday to Friday, 8:00 am to 12.00 pm and 1:00 pm to 5:00 pm. Approval for after-hours use is restricted to experienced users who have demonstrated a high degree of proficiency and independence on SEM and is at the discretion of the staff. At least ten imaging sessions are required before consideration for granting after-hours privileges.

Making Reservations

  • A reservation is required for all SEM Core services.
  • Scheduling is on a first-come first-served basis so plan ahead.
  • The Infinity scheduling system developed by Idea Elan is used for SEM reservations. All new users must complete the online registration form and provide the required details.
  • Please register or log in at https://secure12.ideaelan.com/secure/Public/AppLogin.aspx to request services and create or manage SEM reservations. Authentication using your Ole Miss web ID and password is required.
  • Do not make reservations on behalf of others. Users should only reserve time for their own use and use their own UM login credentials.
  • Reservations can be made for any available time slots (8:00 am to 12:00 pm and 1:00 pm to 5:00 pm) from Monday to Friday except holidays.
  • All users are encouraged to get trained on the instrument and process their samples independently. Core director will not analyze samples for you; if you need help analyzing your samples, please contact the core director.
  • Technical assistance and training services are only available on Mondays and Tuesdays. So, if you want to attend a training session or need help with imaging/sample preparation, please reserve time for either Monday or Tuesday. There is no additional fee for technical assistance.
  • Reservations must be made at least three days before the actual reservation time. A user can edit a reservation only before 12 hours of the scheduled time; editing is not allowed after this time. The minimum reservation length is 1 hr.
  • The following is the general workflow for reservations; please refer to the User Guide and PI Guide for step-by-step instructions.

A graphic detailing how to make a reservation with SEM Core

SEM Training

  • All users must be trained by the microscopy core staff before getting access to any microscope. Users are encouraged to learn SEM operations and analyze their own samples independently.
  • Hands-on training is available for users who want to learn SEM operations and process their samples independently. Please get in touch with us to schedule a training session.
  • The initial SEM training is for 4 hours and covers sample preparation methods, instrument operation and imaging techniques. Additional time is needed if EDS, STEM and CL are included.
  • Additional training and practice may be necessary to operate the instrument independently and confidently.
  • A refresher training is required if users have not used the SEM for more than six months.
  • SEM training is performed by MIC staff. Users must follow all instructions of the MIC staff.
  • Core director will decide who is eligible to use the SEM independently.
Graduate students operating the scanning electron microscope at the UM Microscopy and Imaging Center        
Graduate students operating the scanning electron microscope at the UM Microcopy and Imaging Center

Authorship and acknowledgments

  • All publications utilizing work conducted in the SEM lab should acknowledge the Core facility as follows:
    • “Scanning electron microscopy was performed at the University of Mississippi Microscopy and Imaging Center, which is supported in part by the National Science Foundation through a Major Research Instrumentation grant (#1726880)”.
  • If a staff member has made a substantial contribution, please include the individual as a coauthor. Core facilities must charge for services rendered according to cost accounting practices set up at each institution, and charging for services does not preclude authorship on manuscripts. Situations where authorship often becomes warranted include, but are not limited to:
    • The staff member spent a significant amount of time processing your samples and collecting SEM/EDS data for you, where your role was solely to provide samples.
    • We carried out technically challenging EM protocol and imaging methods, or
    • We recommended and performed new methods/approaches that were previously unknown to you
  • Please acknowledge the Core staff if they only provided brief training on instrument use or technical advice on sample preparation methods specific to your sample. For example:
    • “We acknowledge [staff name] in the University of Mississippi Microscopy and Imaging Center for training and advice on [how we helped you]”.

Education and Outreach

  • The SEM Core supports the education and training of students at various levels. The advanced SEM is incorporated into many undergraduate and graduate courses. Demonstrations of SEM operation and imaging for student groups are available (limit of 4 students per session).
  • The Core supports STEM education and encourages participation from K-12 schools and community colleges. The Core collaborates with the students and teachers from the schools and colleges in the region and provides them access to the state-of-the-art instrument. This opportunity enables young students – the future scientists – to gain early access to modern instruments and develop an interest in STEM fields. Contact us to discuss collaborative projects/education opportunities for students.
  • The Core staff host science tours to the SEM facility and provide demonstrations on various aspects of the instrument to interested users, including K-12 students, teachers, college students, and faculty. Contact us for additional information or to schedule a tour.