Policies and Safety Rules
All users who have or intend to have access to the NMR Facility must read
and follow these policies and rules set forth to guard against accidents,
personal injury, and damage to instruments and environments. All new users and
lab supervisors must sign the Safety and
Policy Acknowledgement Form before a new user can be trained by the
Facility personnel and permission to use the Facility is granted. Failure to follow these
policies and rules may lead to suspension of the access privilege to the entire
facility among other possible penalties.
The NMR Facility promotes diversity and inclusion among its user population. See our mission statement on diversity here
General Policies and Rules
- No unauthorized individuals or pets are allowed in the NMR
- Guests must be escorted at all times.
- No food or drinks should be brought to the NMR
- Lab coats, pipettes, and surgical gloves should not be used in the NMR room except
for cleaning purposes and when the manager is notified of the needs for these items.
- No sharing of user account unless authorized by the Facility
- Financial responsibility is
implicit in using the NMR Facility for scientific research or commercial
material characterization unless explicitly waived by the Department or the
Facility Manager under special circumstances.
- All on-campus users pay towards the upkeeping of
the instruments through the use of their Chem project codes at the campus
- All off-campus users are charged through other
payable accounts at the off-campus rates for both instrument usage time and
staff assistance charges if applicable.
- All users, including all off-campus parties,
also bear financial responsibilities for (1) the cost to repair any damages
to the instruments due to unauthorized use or failure to follow the
policies and safety guidelines listed here, and (2) lost recharge fee and
personnel cost associated with instrument down time due to such
- All off-campus users also bear full financial
responsibility for the cost associated with probe cleanup and repair caused by
probe contamination following tube breaking accidents resulting from improper user
- Only routine NMR experiments may be
- Users must receive permission and instruction
before attempting any new or specialized techniques. The NMR Facility
manager must be informed before any non-standard equipment or experimental
setup is used. Users may not work alone when setting-up or performing
- Probe protection when decoupling or saturation is
- Do not use higher decoupling power, longer
acquisition time with decoupling, especially in combination with a short
recycle delay, than those recommended in the experiment protocol. Do not
use more than recommended power and duration for resonance saturation in
experiments such as CYCLENOE or HOMODEC. Always talk to the manager first
before attempting risky setup.
- Variable Temperature (VT) experiments
- All users who intend to run VT experiments on
NMR500 must read and follow the VT
instruction carefully. It is required that you talk to the facility
manager for training the first time you conduct an VT experiment. Unless
you are given explict permission to conduct low below room temperature experiments,
you must talk to the manager for assistance.
- If the desired VT range exceeds -70C to 90C, you
are required to talk to the Facility manager for proper setup.
- Solvent boiling and freezing points must be
closely observed. Use a proper solvent for the targeted temperature range,
with sufficient overhead room for extra precaution. Failure to do so may
lead to sample freezing or boiling which may break the sample tube inside
the probe, causing damage to the probe and contamination.
- No probe change without first notifying the facility
- Only Facility personnel and trained and
authorized users can perform probe change.
- Instrument time reservation
- Each instrument may have specific hardware and
software setup and configuration. Only users trained and authorized for a
particular instrument can reserve and use the instrument.
- Instrument time reservation is on a first-come
first-serve basis and is limited by maximum block time for each machine.
- Only reserve what you need. Abuse of machine
time reservation, repeated absence during reserved time, or repeated
overbooking will be investigated and appropriate financial charge may be
made to recover the loss of the recharge fee due to the abuse.
- Promptly cancel unused portion of the machine
- Sample tube handling and breaking accidents
- All users are required to use properly rated
(minimally 500 MHz rated) and good quality NMR tubes. Sample tubes that do
not meet the straightness requirement may scratch the probe or shatter
inside the probe while spinning causing probe contamination and damage.
- NMR tubes must be cleaned with kimwipes (with
small amount of isopropanol if necessary) from dust and fingerprints before
being inserted into the magnet.
- Only isopropanol (provided next
to each NMR workstation) should be used for cleaning the spinner and sample
- All users are responsible for safe handling of
NMR tubes in and out of the magnet. Improper tube handling when removing
and inserting a sample tube in a spinner is the number one cause in tube
breaking accidents at the Facility.
- Time is essential for probe cleanup
after a sample spill. The user should report the accident to the
Facility Manager immediately using the emergency phone number posted on the
side of the magnet if a sample tube breaks inside the probe or upper
barrel. Importantly, follow the
posted procedure to post a clearly written message to prevent other
users from continuing to use the machine which may lead to more serious
damage. Failure to report or notify other users of a tube breaking accident
may lead to the loss of access rights to the Facility (see details under
Accident reporting below).
Safety and Accidents
- Danger of magnet quench and risk of asphyxiation
- Note the locations of the exit doors and
leave the room immediately if signs of magnet quench are observed.
In the unlikely event of magnet quench, the magnet loses superconductivity
and overheats, causing a large volume of helium and nitrogen gas to be
released instantly from inside the magnet dewar. The safety relief valves
at the top and possibly the bottom of the magnet will be popped open.
Oxygen will be pushed out of the confined space in seconds.
- Strong magnetic fields and safety
- DO NOT bring metallic objects, large or small,
credit cards, ID cards with magnetic strips, and watches close to the
magnet within the 5 Gauss line, typically 2-3 meters from center of the
magnet for unshielded magnets and 1 meter from center for actively shielded
magnet. Whenever in doubt, assume the magnet is not shielded. All magnets,
except the newer 600 and 800 MHz spectrometers in the department, are not
- Do not enter the Facility rooms or
operate the NMR spectrometers if you wear life-supporting medical devices
and implants, such as heart pacemakers. High-magnetic fields may
also subject certain prostheses with magnetic materials to strong magnetic
fields. Use extreme care and seek advice before approaching the
- Hazardous and dangerous materials
- The NMR Facility is a shared,
user facility. All users who conduct experiments with hazardous materials,
including toxic and radioactive materials, must closely follow EH&S safety and waste disposal
guidelines and regulations. The user and the associated group are
responsible for properly monitoring the safe handling, exposure and
disposal of the hazardous material according to EH&S guidelines.
Failure to do so may jeopardize the environment and safety of all users and
may lead to suspension of facility access privilege and payment of any
cleanup cost and fine.
- Highly toxic, radioactive, and dangerous
materials including pressurized, chemically corrosive, explosive, or
otherwise unusually hazardous materials may not be brought into
the laboratory without prior discussion of handling, disposal, and
emergency procedures with the NMR Facility Manager.
- The user is responsible for ensuring the safety
of NMR samples to instruments and safety of surrounding environments and
personnel. Whenever in doubt, notify the facility manager of the use of
such materials so that proper precaution can be taken.
- Sample tubes of regular thickness or thicker
(not tubes labeled as thin-walled) or double-walled tubes are strongly
recommended for dangerous materials. The user and associated group must
guarantee the proper and safe operation of the sample tubes and experiment
conditions to avoid any tube breaking accident.
- Accident reporting
- The NMR facility strives to keep a safe and
smooth working environment. Your cooperation is essential to this goal. Our
goal is to promote shared responsibility and good-faith efforts for all
users to immediately report any accident that may or have led to danger to
personnel, probe or other hardware damage. The priority and policy of the
facility is to minimize any possible further damage that may occur after
the accident, repair the damage as soon as possible, and prevent future
accidents from happening. Failure to report after a serious accident may
lead to suspension of the access privilege to the entire facility among
other possible penalties.
- The user must post a clearly written message in
front of the workstation, by the door or wherever most appropriate to
inform other users of the situation if the accident has led to possible
instrument failure, damage, or a dangerous situation for others to be
- All users should report any accident that poses
an immediate danger to the environment, personnel or properties including
spilling of highly toxic, dangerous or radioactive materials inside the
Facility to the relevant campus emergency response in addition to the
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