SIGF Policy

Instrumentation, Preparation, and Shipping Policies

Samples being prepared

Instrumentation Policy

Please read thoroughly.

The staff and faculty associated with the Stable Isotope Geosciences Facility understand that graduate students and researchers are interested in the preparation and analysis of their own samples. For preparation of samples please read through the Preparation Facility Policy. Users who are interested in running their own samples will adhere to the following policy.

Depending on the type of analysis, users will need to consult with the SIGF Director and Manager about their level of experience and competence working with isotope ratio mass spectrometry system. We will need to know the number of samples to be analyzed and the timeframe in which you need them analyzed.

Training on equipment may include working alongside or shadowing the SIGF Manager with analysis of samples. Once preparation is complete there may be maintenance steps that are required before analysis can begin. You may be expected to help during the regular workweek and possibly on weekends.

Analysis of samples will be allowed by the Director and Manager on a case-by-case basis. In many cases it may take several months to a year for users to become adept at running these instruments. We will only train people who plan on running large numbers of samples. It is not efficient for SIGF to train someone to analyze 100 samples as a one-time project. For smaller projects we will show the user the steps required to analyze the samples and also give a tour of the facility. The user is welcome to help but will not receive the extensive training on the instrument.

SIGF encourages users to ask questions and help with analyses as much as practical. Some users prefer to just submit samples for analyses, while other users are more involved. Either way is fine with us. We want you, as the client, to gain as much information as possible and to leave satisfied with both the experience and the results.

Several risks are associated with running high precision isotope ratio mass spectrometers and associated peripheral devices. These include, but are not limited to, high instrument voltages, explosive gases, and working with volatile chemicals. Please make sure you are up-to-date with your laboratory safety training. Any work performed in SIGF will require training by TAMU Environmental Health and Safety and the SIGF Laboratory Manager.

Preparation Facility Policy

Please Read Thoroughly.

The TAMU Stable Isotope Geosciences Facility has various preparation facilities available for use. The prep labs are located in the following areas: Room 406A (O&M Bldg), Room 309 (O&M Bldg), Room 312 (O&M Bldg), and in special circumstances Ethan Grossman's lab in Halbouty 204. These preparation labs are structured with the intention of serving a broad community of faculty, staff, and students within the TAMU campus, as well as external users. The facilities contain equipment necessary for preparation of samples for isotope analysis. As such, the facility user policy is outlined below:

  1. You must have appropriate safety and instrument training to be approved to use the facility equipment by the Lab Manager or Director. Under no circumstancesshould you be using the equipment unless that permission has been given.
  2. You must sign-up for the specific piece of equipment you intend to use ahead of time. This is particularly important when there are several users that have needs for the same equipment at the same time. You can sign up in the log books within the lab or e-mail ahead of time.
  3. Advance sign-up should not exceed 10 days prior to using a piece of equipment unless there are special circumstances (i.e., external user coming from out of town on a specific day).
  4. It is recommended that you sign-up for continuous blocks of time. With many users hiring part-time assistance, it is much easier if they can plan on having one day set aside for them to work. There is flexibility to this rule as schedules become more certain over the course of a semester.
  5. In the case of a dispute over a preparation line or piece of equipment, the facility manager shall decide the user schedule.
  6. If you need to use the laboratories in O&M 406A, 309, or 312, or Halb. 204, during off-hours (after 5 pm M-F or weekends) you will need facility manager or director approval. The doors to O&M require a TAMU ID approved activation for entrance after 5:00PM during weekdays and all weekend. The doors are also locked on University-approved holidays.
  7. You are responsible for informing the facility manager of any schedule changes, including cancellations.
  8. All users are responsible for keeping the work areas clean and the preparation lines and equipment in full working condition. Please report any breakage or malfunctioning equipment. Any breakage (beyond normal wear and tear) is your responsibility and will be billed to your account.
  9. You are responsible for knowing the difference between enriched and natural abundance type samples. Enriched or labeled samples can have a detrimental effect on natural abundance preparation equipment and samples. Please see the SIGF manager if you do not know the difference. If you do prepare isotopically-enriched samples on the preparation lines and instruments, you are responsible for all clean-up efforts. In some cases a fee may be assessed if clean-up procedures are significant.
  10. Absolutely no sampleswill be admitted into SIGF if they have come in contact with a laboratory that performs tracer radiocarbon work. Personnel within the facility routinely perform measurements on naturally abundant levels of radiocarbon and tracer work would contaminate the work area.

11. All users are required to show proof that they have attended a laboratory safety course in accordance with TAMU Environmental Health and Safety (EH&S). Material safety data sheets are available for users. Laboratory safety is of utmost importance for a suitable working environment. These laboratory policies are subject to change. Please contact the facility manager if you have any questions or concerns.