EOF Campus User Policy

Electron Optics Facility Procedures and Policies

Adopted May 9, 1995, revised November 15, 2017

Campus Community Users

Welcome | Location | Director and Staff | Campus Users | Undergraduate Students | Guest Researchers from Off Campus | Selecting an Instrument | Training Requirements | Coursework Training | One-on-One Training | Informal Training | Authorized, Restricted, and Unrestricted Users | Safety and Cleanliness | Access | Use Rates | Best Practices | Citing ACMAL in Publications | Staff as Co-Authors | Authorization Expiration


The Applied Chemical and Morphological Analysis Laboratory (ACMAL) is a central research facility at Michigan Technological University. The Electron Optics Facility (EOF) is a sub-set of the ACMAL facility dedicated to the support of electron beam instruments and ancillary equipment.

ACMAL and EOF are managed by the Department of Materials Science and Engineering. They are a part of the Materials Characterization and Fabrication Facilities (MCFF), together with the Microfabrication Facility (MFF). Our laboratories house an extensive array of electron microanalytical and X-ray instruments that provide users the tools for structural and chemical characterization of materials.




ACMAL is located on the 6th and 7th floors of the Minerals and Materials Building (Academic Building 12 on the Michigan Tech Campus Map or FIND US in the Contact page).

Director and Staff

Owen P. Mills is the Director of ACMAL as well as the manager of the EOF. The lab usually engages 1-3 undergraduate student staff members to assist in daily maintenance and user support.

ACMAL support staff are here to help you develop the highest level of skill. We accomplish this by providing course work, practical examinations, and one-on-one assistance throughout your activities in the facility. Our goal is to maximize your efficiency. As you advance your skills, you can expect to obtain better quality research results in a safer manner and in minimal time.

Campus Users

While the majority of facility users are Michigan Tech graduate student researchers, all campus researchers and academic units are welcome to use this central research facility.

Undergraduate Students

Undergraduates with proper training are welcome to use the facility.

Guest Researchers from Off Campus

ACMAL welcomes researchers from industry and other academic institutions. Please familiarize yourself with the EOF Guest User Policy. Contact Owen Mills for assistance and scheduling.

Selecting an Instrument

Do a preliminary investigation of your specimens to decide whether the EOF can suit your research needs.

  1. Research as many properties of your specimen as possible, such as the composition, size of target, conductivity, manner of preparation, and so on.
  2. Find articles describing specimens similar to yours, and decide upon a preparatory method. (It may help to review the Specimen Preparation module of ACMAL eTraining.)
  3. Decide which instrument will give you the answer you are looking for. Contact the EOF lab staff with information from Steps 1 and 2. They can advise you on the appropriate instrument.
  4. Schedule a time with Owen or a lab assistant to help you with your work, or request training on the instrument.

Training Requirements

If you plan to use the instrument on a regular basis or have a large number of specimens that you need to complete, we recommend learning to use the instrument for yourself. Formal training is required for this.

Only authorized users will be permitted to use the instruments. Users can be authorized upon successful completion of training classes, and will be classified as restricted or unrestricted as described below.

Users are not permitted to train other users.

Coursework Training

Many of the instruments have an affiliated course at Michigan Tech. Check individual instrument pages under Electron Microscopy. Affiliated courses are listed in the “Training” section for that instrument. Generally, these courses are restricted to students at the graduate level.

Undergraduate students are advised to take the SEM course. Successful completion of the SEM course/lab (MY 4200/MY4201 Introduction to Scanning Electron Microscopy, 2.0 credits) authorizes users on the JEOL JSM-6400 SEM. Once you successfully pass the MY4201 practical exam , you may receive the Hitachi S-4700 FE-SEM and Hitachi FB-2000A FIB training given by ACMAL staff.

Training opportunities will be offered several times each year—consult your advisor or ACMAL staff for the next scheduled course.

One-On-One Training

Situations may arise where a student needs facility access before the next course is offered. Depending on availability, the EOF staff can train you.

Training is at least 6 hours in total, over the course of 1-3 days. During this time you will be trained on a test specimen; however, you may bring your own specimens to look at if time permits. At the end of your training session you will take a 45-minute practical exam.  This tests your ability to perform the basic functions of specimen exchange, imaging, and EDS. You are permitted to use your notes and the Operators Manual (if relevant) on the practical exam.

Staff time will be charged to a research account at the current wages. The availability of last minute, one-on-one engineer training is not guaranteed.

Informal Training

ACMAL is pleased to offer online training modules, which we refer to as ACMAL eTraining. Informal training DOES NOT take the place of formal training required for authorized use.

Here are the best uses for the ACMAL eTraining modules:

  • As a supplement to formal training
  • For reference while using the instruments
  • As a refresher for lapsed usage

Available module topics related to a particular instrument are listed in the “Training” section for that instrument.

Authorized, Restricted, and Unrestricted Users

Authorized users will be classified as either restricted or unrestricted, depending on their experience and level of skill. The restricted classification is normally reserved for newly trained users, although unrestricted users may be reclassified to restricted with lapses in use of six months or more.

Restricted users will have access only from 8 am to 5 pm, Monday through Friday. As restricted users gain (or regain) experience, they will be reclassified to unrestricted status at the EOF Director’s discretion and may be granted after-hours access to the facility.

Safety and Cleanliness

All users must adhere to lab safety guidelines and cleanliness in the working environment. This is a University mandate.


Safety Cleanliness


If you do not wish to be trained on the instruments, please schedule a time with Owen Mills or a lab assistant to help you with your work.

For authorized users:



Follow the Sign-Up Procedure.


  1. Unauthorized Users – Contact the EOF Engineer by phone or email to obtain the training schedule.
  2. Authorized Users – An online sign-up procedure has been implemented in which authorized users may sign up to reserve instruments up two weeks in advance.
[button-green text=”Reservations” url=”/acmal/reservations/”]

Generally, the following rules will govern the sign-up procedure:

  1. You may sign up for:
    • up to 2 hour blocks for SEM use, maximum of 8 hrs/wk.
    • up to 8 hour blocks for WDS use on the 6400 SEM, maximum of 16 hrs/wk.
    • up to 8 hour blocks for JEOL JEM-2010 use, maximum of 16 hrs/wk.
    • up to 8 hour blocks for Hitachi FB-2000A use, maximum of 16 hrs/wk.
  2. Allow 1 day between sign-ups to permit others an opportunity to gain access.
  3. After satisfying the above procedures, you may sign-up for additional time (beyond the maximum) if a) you have already used your weekly maximum on that instrument, and b) un-signed time is available.
  4. 12 hours notice is requested if you must miss a scheduled appointment.  Another user may begin using your block after you are 15 minutes late.
  5. Priority for use is as follows:
    1. Classes and Course Laboratories
    2. MTU Research Community
    3. Off-campus Consulting Projects
  6. In the case of conflicting needs for multiple users, scheduling will be arranged in consultation with the EOF Engineer and the Department Chairs, if necessary. Decisions will normally be made based on the above stated priorities.

The following EOF instruments must be reserved by the sign-up procedure:

  1. Hitachi S-4700 FE-SEM (M&M 636)
  2. JEOL 6400 SEM (M&M 635)
  3. JEOL JEM-2010 TEM (M&M 634)
  4. FEI 200kV Titan Themis S-TEM (ATDC)
  5. Hitachi FB-2000A FIB (M&M 632)
  6. FEI XL 40 ESEM (M&M 717)
  7. Veeco Dimension 3000 Atomic Force Microscope (M&M 616)
  8. Perkin Elmer PHI-660 Scanning Auger Microscope (M&M 617)

The sign-up procedures described above may be relaxed depending on the level of use a particular research group requires and the ability of users to work together on their needs.

Use Rates

Internal use rates are applicable when a valid Michigan Tech index is charged for the instrument use. All other work is considered external, and the higher external rates will be charged. Use rates are levied for authorized users working independently. If ACMAL staff do the work for you, that rate is combined with an hourly salary for technical staff to operate the instrument.



Use charges for each ACMAL instrument are calculated annually as follows. For the previous years recorded data, the cost to operate the instrument is divided by the amount of use the instrument received.  The rate is recalculated biennially. The Michigan Tech Research Accounting Office endorses this procedure.

More information on calculating use rates is at:

Accounting Services – General Accounting – Special Fees and Use Charges – USE RATE FORM

Best Practices

Learn as much as possible about your specimen and its manner of preparation before selecting an instrument.

Each instrument will have a set of brief operating instructions for reference during use. The booklet will describe basic operations and procedures, as well as the standard conditions in which the instrument should be left after each use. Failure to execute the shut-down procedures as specified may needlessly confuse the next user.

All non-standard experiments involving the electron microscopes must be approved in advance. If there is a problem with any instrument report it to the EOF Engineer immediately. Staff contact information is posted in each lab. There is no penalty for reporting accidental damage to equipment. Deliberate misuse of equipment will not be tolerated. Deliberate or negligent use of the equipment will may result in the assessment of repair charges to faculty. Unauthorized use of the equipment or failure to correctly use the logbook will result in disciplinary action.

Citing ACMAL in Publications

Please acknowledge ACMAL in all resulting publications, including articles, posters, and news releases. Publications citing ACMAL use are essential when a proposal is being prepared for a replacement instrument.  Please supply a reprint of any publication that contains data recorded from ACMAL to Owen Mills.

Suggested citation:

The authors acknowledge the Applied Chemical & Morphological Analysis Laboratory at Michigan Tech for use of the instruments and staff assistance.

Staff as Co-Authors

When ACMAL staff have simply shown users how to use the microscope, co-authorship is not expected. If any of the staff have helped to design a series of experiments, prepare specimens, and/or perform a significant amount of the microscopy with analysis, it is common courtesy to add their name(s) as co-authors on publications.

Authorization Expiration

User authorization or access restrictions may expire after six months or so of lapsed usage. In that case, card tap access to the lab may be removed and re-training may be required for future lab use.

ACMAL is a multi-user facility serving many research groups and it is our goal to make sure you are safe, the lab is clean and the equipment is operating properly. To ensure these goals are met we reserve the right to interrupt your lab access for obvious infractions. The reinstatement procedure is included next to the infraction in the table.

Reason for Access Denial Access Reinstatement Process
Unsuccessful training or completion of courses Request follow-up training and retake exam
Failure to pass the practical exam Request re-training

Re-take the exam

Lapse of use over six months or more Request follow-up training and retake exam

Undergo supervision

Unsafe or untidy behavior Send a written appeal statement to the director
Expired or overdraft account Supply a new account or add funds to existing
Improper shut-down of equipment Request re-training


Send a written appeal statement to the director

Non-standard experimentation without permission Send a written appeal statement to the director
Failure to report an issue with equipment Send a written appeal statement to the director
Deliberate or negligent use of the equipment Request re-training


Send a written appeal statement to the director

Failure to use the logbook or incorrect use of the logbook Pay any usage back charges


Send a written appeal statement to the director

Other unauthorized use of equipment, such as:

  • After hours use by restricted users
  • Unsupervised use by trainees
Send a written appeal statement to the director

See also EOF Procedures and Policies for Guest Users.

See also CICF policy.

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