All users must read and adhere to the guidelines laid out in this document!

1. Introduction

The MINT Center’s philosophy is strongly collaborative, interdisciplinary in nature. Therefore, we welcome any request for access to our facilities.

Being a multi-user facility with expensive, sensitive equipment, the MINT Center has defined processes and guidelines that enable users to perform high-quality research.

2. User Qualification for Using MINT Equipment

Who can use MINT equipment?

  • MINT faculty, MINT research scientists/PD fellows, MINT students, and MINT industry-sponsored personnel are all eligible.
  • Prospective users have to be approved by the Facilities Manager.
  • Approval requires successful participation in training sessions.

3. Accessibility to MINT Facilities

  • Prospective users contact the manager to discuss intended measurements and evaluate training needs.
  • Users must attend training sessions and have to demonstrate solid understanding of the instrument and the measurement procedures to successfully finish the training.
  • Once approved by the manager, the user will be activated in ARMS (Alabama Research Management System) for the respective instrument.
  • The PI’s approval is required to add the user to a project in ARMS!
  • No measurements can be performed by a user without a corresponding project to be billed to!

4. User Fees

Please find user fee information here.

5. Lab Rules

For any type of measurement, proper documentation of sample, sample preparation, setup of the instrument, etc, is needed. This is good practice for any experimental work.


  • Users are required to keep a detailed lab notebook of the measurements performed.
  • Lab books are provided with each instrument. They shall hold all relevant information connected to the actual data files on the computer.
  • The lab books must remain near the instrument. The data files remain on the respective computer’s hard drive.
  • Copies of the lab books and the data files can be kept with the user for further processing.
  • When finished the desk / lab has to be cleaned and tools returned to their respective place. The instrument has to be set ready for the next user. What this actually means depends on the instrument and can be found in the individual equipment’s training documentation.

Please keep in mind: It is a sign of respect for your fellow coworkers / students and the scientific work you’re doing to leave the lab in an orderly condition!

6. Utilization of the Equipment

  • Access to equipment can is granted through ARMS. Bypassing ARMS in any way is in strong violation of the MINT Center Guidelines!
  • When activating an instrument in ARMS, select the appropriate project for that particular measurement. If unsure, ask your PI / supervisor!
  • If you cannot make it for a reserved time slot, cancel the reservation so that other users can schedule time on that instrument.

We ask all users to follow the procedures taught during instrument training and to perform all tasks with great care.

  • If something breaks or behaves unexpectedly, the manager should be contacted immediately! Reporting broken equipment is a sign of taking responsibility for the work you’re doing.

The MINT center’s policy is not to punish users that broke something unintentionally, but to prevent it from happening again by retraining or changes in the operational procedures.

  • The repair costs for such an unexpected and/or unintentionally caused trouble may be covered by the MINT.
  • However, in the case of the damage caused by careless behaviors, the coverage for that damage will be discussed for each individual case.

We will not tolerate users intentionally not following the guidelines! Ultimately, the user status for the respective instrument may be revoked.

7. Lab Safety

Personnel working in a research lab can encounter different kinds of hazards that might seriously affect someone’s health or life. One has to be aware of those risks before performing any kind of work in the lab.

Therefore, users are required to take and successfully complete general lab safety training courses offered by EHS. In certain cases additional safety training may be necessary (e.g. X-Ray Safety for XRD).

The following courses are required as a minimum:

  • Laboratory Safety
  • Cryogenic Safety
  • Fire Safety and Prevention
  • Compressed Gas Safety
  • PPE: Personal Protective Equipment


8. Scientific Publications

In order to further enhance the visibility of the MINT center, we ask that in cases where MINT shared facilities have been utilized in research that leads to publications that this is acknowledged in the publication with the following or similar statement: “We acknowledge MINT support through shared facilities.” Let us know the bibliographic information of this publication so we can refer to it on the MINT website!

These guidelines have been approved by the MINT Director and the Facilities Manager.

Version Approved Changes
1.0 18 April 2014 Initial version
1.1 27 August 2014 Regulation for user fee waiver added
1.2 18 January 2019 Updated user fees