Policies and Procedures

Facility Use

The facility is open to all users during normal LSU workdays (M-F 8am to 5pm). Please check the following LSU calendar to see which days the university closes for holidays and university breaks.

  • Food and drinks without lids are not permitted in the instrument rooms.
  • Please help us maintain a clean and efficient environment.
  • users with “after-hours” access are NOT permitted to allow access for others into the facility.
  • users must not leave building doors open for any reason, this is for the security and safety of everyone in the building.
  • Published data should include an acknowledgment to the SIF such as: “Confocal microscopy was performed at the Shared Instrumentation Facility (SIF) at Louisiana State University.”

Equipment Scheduling

Equipment reservations are booked using the FBS.

  • users may only use the instrument during their reserved time.
    • Independent users - Daytime access: Monday thru Friday, 8:00am - 5:00pm
    • Qualified users - Anytime access Any day and time (unless facility is closed for LSU holidays).
  • users must reserve instrument time on the iLab scheduler prior to using the instrument.
  • users must log off their reservation on iLab when their usage is complete. A charge of one additional hour of instrument time will apply if a user fails to log off.
  • users may only reserve time for themselves; booking on behalf of other users is NOT permitted.

Equipment Training and Use

Training is required before users can use the equipment at the SIF. Submit training requests through the iLab system with a follow-up email sent to the instrument specialist.

  • Training cost includes instrumentation and assistance rates.
  • All users must have funding available to cover the fees for use of SIF equipment.
  • Training by an instrument specialist is required in order to use the instrument(s). Independent and qualified users are NOT allowed to train others on instrumentation (unless approved by the facility manager).
  • Initial training will last two to three hours and/or split over a period of two reserved sessions.
  • Please be sure to take notes during your training sessions and bring them to refer to during your reserved instrument usage time.
  • Once trained on that instrument and the user has demonstrated the ability to operate the instrument, they will be certified as independent user having personal access for reservation scheduling and equipment.
  • Based on the competency of the user and their project need or scheduled usage for that instrument, a user can request to become a qualified user. Make the initial request to the instrument specialist who will place the final request with the facility manager.
  • All approved qualified users will gain access to the Chemistry and Materials Building via their LSU swipe card and access to the lab key lock box. There will be two separate forms for the user and their department advisor to fill out, sign and return to the SIF facility manager.

Safety Training

Please complete safety training as soon as possible. This training is mandatory, even for personnel who do not work in a laboratory or handle hazardous materials. It is the responsibility of the user, their advisor, and their home department to ensure that training is complete and to retain training records.

  • Visit the LSU Environmental Health and Safety website for the on-line training modules.
    The following EHS online courses are required for all SIF users:
    • Basic Laboratory Safety Training
    • Hazardous Waste Training
    • Hazard Communication
    • Emergency Response Training
  • For SIF users that will need fume hoods or be working with any chemicals:
    • Chemical Safety
  • For SIF users that will be using any type of compressed gas cylinders:
    • Compressed Gas Cylinder Safety Training
  • For SIF users that will be working with Biological material in ANY form:
    • Basic Bio-safety (SIF is a Bio-Level Safety 1 facility)

Sample Preparation

SIF expects all users to follow basic laboratory safety procedures, any user not following laboratory safety procedures will be asked to leave and their advisor will be notified. If you have any questions about sample preparation, ask one of the instrument specialists for assistance. All samples must be properly prepared to maintain the integrity of the instruments.

  • Keep and use all solvents under the hood.
  • Place waste solvents in the “solvent waste” container in the prep room. Do not put electrolytes or acid containing material in this container; place them in their separate and labeled containers.
  • Samples to be examined in electron microscopes must be completely cleaned and thereafter handled only while wearing gloves. They must be stable in the high vacuum of a microscope chamber.

Examine volatile samples only after consultation with the facility manager and instrument specialist and establishing a protocol.


Tools and Supplies

Tools for manipulating samples, sample holders, and gloves are in each instrument room. They may not be transferred to another instrument without permission from the instrument specialist.

The SIF may not supply all of the consumables needed by every user. If you need items for your specific experiment or analysis, please ask. We may be able to order the items for you. There are certain items that may incur a “consumable cost” charge in addition to the instrument and/or assistance fees.

Please leave the laboratory and preparation areas in a clean and organized fashion for the next user.


Computer Usage

  • No software is to be run or installed without prior approval by the instrument specialist or the facility manager.
  • Software on instrument computers is limited to the instrument controls and supplemental software, such as x-ray analysis and orientation imaging, deconvolution and analysis processing, and image processing and reconstruction. Access to these programs is through the user interface.
  • Computers in microscope rooms are for exclusive and sole purpose of microscopy – no web browsing, email access or other use permitted.
  • There are multiple kiosk stations available in the facility for logging in and out of the iLab software for recording instrument usage.

Data and Image Storage

The user must transfer acquired images and data to a personal storage device at the end of every instrument session. Instrument PCs are for temporary image storage and SIF will delete abandoned files periodically without warning. The SIF is not responsible for maintenance or retention of research data. Images should be stored in an uncompressed format. (e.g., “.TIF” and not “.JPG”)


Images Enhancement

Images are a type of data and treated accordingly.  The expectation is that all SIF users will follow the proper ethical guidelines with respect to the handling of images and other data.

  • Always keep a copy of the original data file.
  • Use copies of unprocessed image data files in manipulation or enhancement of images.
  • Save images in a lossless format (NOT .JPG). Use .TIF, .DM3, RAW, BMP, or PNG formats, preferably as 16 bit images.
  • If intensities are not critical, adjusting the image with brightness, contrast, and gamma controls is acceptable without annotation. Document all other image-processing steps in detail. If you have questions about image enhancement contact one of the SIF instrument specialists.
  • Published data should include an acknowledgment to SIF such as, “Confocal microscopy was performed at the Shared Instrumentation Facility (SIF) at Louisiana State University.” Please be sure to send a copy or link to the publication to the facility manager for archiving in the facility records.