Obtaining time at the BioCAT facility is a multiple-step process. Below
is a listing of the eleven things you need to do---from start to finish---to
acquire, use, and complete time at BioCAT:
- Discuss Your Proposed Experiment
Our facility is very flexible and can accomodate most experiments that fall
within our supported
techniques. We strongly encourage you to discuss your experiment with
the user liaison for your technique.
This will save a lot of time assembling and debugging your set-up giving you more
time to acquire high-quality data once you've arrived.
Register as an APS Experimenter ("User")
The Advanced Photon Source resides within Argonne National Laboratory
which is a controlled-access facility. This step initiates the process
for granting access to ANL, as well as, the process for ensuring
and compliance requirements are met.
- Submit a Proposal
The primary mechanism for access to BioCAT is through the
APS General User Program. Further information on classes of experiments, allocation of time by
category, and the proposal review process is avaliable in the
BioCAT Beamline Allocation Policy.
Users with active proposals wishing time in the next run should
complete the APS Request for Additional Beamtime Form. Specific instructions are found on the
APS "GUP System Instructions" page under "Part V: How Do I Request Additional Time?"
- Complete the
Experiment Safety Assessment Form (ESAF)
Every proposal awarded beam time must be accompanied by an approved
Experiment Safety Assessment Form (ESAF) before it is allowed to proceed.
For an ESAF to be valid, it must list all experimenters to be present at
the facility. In addition, when listing materials, protein names must be
written out in full (i.e. no abbreviations with the exception of "DNA" and
If your experiment does not involve any of the hazards listed below,
submitting the ESAF two weeks before your scheduled beam time should
provide enough time for its review and possible revision. Please visit our
Safety & Compliance
page for further instructions.
Please submit your ESAF far enough in advance to resolve any safety
issues so that your experiment can proceed.
N.B.: Hazards Requiring Additional Review
There are a number of hazards which will require a more detailed (and,
therefore, prolonged) review before access can be granted:
- Bio-Hazardous Materials
Experiments utilizing any of the following items will have to be
coordinated far in advance with your Scientific Contact, Mark Vukonich(BioCAT BSO),
and Nena Moonier(APS BSO) to be reviewed formally by the ANL Institutional Biosafety Committee(IBC)
as well as the IIT IBC:
The IBCs oversee the safety of all experimental participants and ratify
the proposed experimental protocol according to Centers for Disease
Control, Department of Transportation, and Department of Agriculture
regulations. This is a process which can take upwards of three
months; so consult with your Scientific Contact for IBC application
instructions well in advance if you think your experiment might
require the approval of the IBC.
- Human tissues or fluids
- Animal tissues derived from diseased animals
- Some plants and plant pathogens
- Some viruses and bacteria
- Some proteins which may be involved in causing disease or harmful
effects of the disease process
- Some sequences of DNA or RNA
Use of any other than a class I laser requires additional
ANL-supplied training. You will need to schedule a few hours to
complete this training. In addition, use of a class IIIb or IV
laser will require a written Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) and an
on-site review of the assembled (but not aligned) laser system
before work may begin. A class IV laser will require all
operators to have an ANL-approved off-site eye examination.
All electrical equipment which is not certified by a Nationally
Recognized Testing Laboratory (NRTL) (such as Underwriters
Laboratories) or is modified will need to be inspected before it
may be used at the APS.
A listing of approved NRTLs is provided here.
- Arrange for Shipping
Please be aware that the transportation of many materials is regulated by
the US Department of Transportation as well as ANL. Failure to comply with
DOT regulations can result in heavy fines. Failure to comply with ANL
regulations can result in loss of access to the facility. Please visit our
Safety & Compliance
webpage for further details.
Establish a "User Account"
BioCAT requests that all experimenters submit a purchase order to ANL in
care of the APS "User Account Specialist" to provide a mechanism for
covering costs that may be incurred at the APS on their behalf. Such costs
include: shipping, purchases from the APS stock room, supplies ordered
through the Argonne Materials Ordering System (AMOS), and fabrication of
items at an APS/ANL shop.
- Complete Training and Orientation
Once you arrive, both the
APS and BioCAT will require certain training and orientation
sessions to be taken before you may proceed with your experiment.
These sessions will be determined by the ESAF process. Some of these
are avaliable on-line. Please visit our
Safety & Compliance
webpage for further details.
- Observe Beam-Line Etiquette
Please, while you're here:
- Be courteous to your host staff.
We work hard supporting back-to-back experiments that run
24 hours a day for multiple days during the three-month-long
We will do all that is humanly possible to support your experiment
while you're here, but we will also show you basic
trouble-shooting algorithms that will help you diagnose some
problems on your own---saving you time.
- Be patient.
Your experiment block includes time required for set-up. Unless
otherwise arranged, you should expect at least one shift to be
used aligning optics and assembling sample holders before your
experiment is ready to begin the debugging phase.
- Keep your work areas as orderly and free of debris as possible.
- Collect Your Data
It is now becoming more and more common for experiments to
generate tens of gigabytes of data. Please be prepared to collect
this data so that you can transmit it to your home institution.
You may bring DVDs which you may burn on a sequestered, networked
computer or bring a USB hard-drive which you may connect to this
same computer. BioCAT is not supported to supply experimenters
with storage media.
- Relinquish the facilities at the appointed time.
Typically, the experimenter following you begins at 0800
on your last day. Unless otherwise arranged, you should have your
equipment already dismantled and the hutch and bio-chem lab
cleared by this time.
- Complete an
End of Experiment Form
Once your experiment is over, we request that you provide BioCAT and
the APS with any comments and constructive criticisms so that your next
experiment can run more efficiently.
- Publish Your Results
Needless to say, your primary obligation after completing your experiment
are: to publish your results with
proper acknowledgment of the APS and BioCAT, and notify both the APS
and BioCAT of such publications. Peer-reviewed publications are are the
primary measure of scientific output. Properly documented publications
insure that funds are avaliable to continue operating the facility.
- Refine Your Experiment
Most of our experimenters return for subsequent experiments.
Keep in touch with your user liaison
and follow through on proposed modifications to your
experiment. It is very important that ideas for improving your experiment
are not lost between visits.