eTraining Introduction

Specimen Preparation

Leica Ultracut UCT



Hitachi S-4700 FE-SEM

Hitachi FB-2000A FIB


Veeco Dim 3000 AFM

Fluorescence Microscopes


General Lab Safety

Procedural discipline and awareness of your environment is critical in any lab environment. Your cooperation is important and appreciated.

Knob TweakingKnob Tweaking

Most of the time you will not need to use many of the knobs and buttons in a lab. They are not there for you to pretend you are an astronaut on a mission to Mars. If you do not know what a button does, do NOT use it! Ask support staff for help if necessary. If you do need to use an unusual setting, please be sure to return the knob or button to its original position. Also, do not assume that a knob is at its correct initial setting when you begin an experiment.

Radiation HazardRadiation Hazard

High energy electrons traveling in the electron microscope can interact with metal in the column to produce X-rays. Modern electron microscopes are equipped with shielding that protects the operator. Periodic radiation surveys are conducted to ensure this protection. Michigan law requires licensing and annual inspections, but does not require electron microscope operators to wear radiation monitoring tags.

Liquid NitrogenProperties of LN2

Liquid Nitrogen (LN2) is extremely cold: 77.3 K = -196C = -320F at atmospheric pressure. LN2 can cause severe frost bite. On vaporization it expands by a factor of 700; one liter of liquid nitrogen becomes 24.6 cubic feet of nitrogen gas. This can cause explosion of a sealed container, or it can displace oxygen in the room and cause suffocation without warning. LN2 can become oxygen enriched and cause ordinarily noncombustible materials to burn rapidly.


Precautions When Handling Liquid Nitrogen

  1. Treat liquid nitrogen and any object cooled with liquid nitrogen with respect.
  2. Take care not to allow liquid nitrogen to be trapped in clothing near the skin.
  3. Wear safety glasses or a face shield when transferring liquid nitrogen.
  4. Wear cryo gloves (blue) when touching any object cooled by liquid nitrogen. Gloves should be loose fitting, so they could be thrown off if liquid were to pour inside them.
  5. Use only approved unsealed containers. Never pour it into a coffee thermos. Never seal it in any container (it will explode).
  6. Never dip a hollow tube into liquid nitrogen; it may spurt liquid.
  7. Never use in a small poorly ventilated room, and never dispose of liquid nitrogen by pouring it on the floor. It could displace enough oxygen to cause suffocation. Nitrogen gas is colorless and odorless. The cloud that forms when you pour liquid nitrogen is condensed water vapor from the air, not nitrogen gas.
  8. Do not store liquid nitrogen for long periods in an uncovered container (on the other hand, never totally seal a container). Because the boiling point of oxygen, 90.1 K, is above that of nitrogen, oxygen can condense from the air into the liquid nitrogen. If the air over the nitrogen circulates, this liquid oxygen can build up to levels which may cause violent reactions with organic materials, even materials which are ordinarily nonflammable. For example, a severe clothing fire could result from ignition in the presence of liquid oxygen.

First AidFirst Aid


If person seems to become dizzy or loses consciousness while working with liquid nitrogen, move to a well-ventilated area immediately. If breathing has stopped, apply artificial respiration. If breathing is difficult, give oxygen. Call a physician. Keep warm and at rest.


If exposed to liquid or cold gas, restore tissue to normal body temperature, 98.6F (37C), followed by protection of the injured tissue from further damage and infection. Remove or loosen clothing that may constrict blood circulation to the frozen area. Call a physician. Rapid warming of the affected part is best achieved by using water at 106F (42C). Under no circumstances should the water be over 112F (44C), nor should the frozen part be rubbed either before or after rewarming. The patient should neither smoke, nor drink alcohol.

Material Safety Data Sheets

The Electron Optics Facility is transitioning to an online search integrated with Michigan Tech campus for MSDS information.

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