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The Center for Environmental Science and Technology (CEST) is a shared asset facility. While the Center's primary focus is on providing instrumentation for graduate students to complete the research necessary in attaining their degrees, CEST is accessible to all University of Notre Dame community members, their collaborators, and visiting researchers.

The following information provides instructions and guidelines for completing required paperwork and training, scheduling use of the instruments, canceling reservations, and acknowledging CEST:

Annual User Form

Prior to using the Center, all researchers are required to have a signed CEST User Form on record for the current academic year. Copies of the User Form are only available in-person at the CEST office in 152 Fitzpatrick Hall. This form must be filled out completely, with each statement on the form initialed by the user, and the requested contact information entirely provided.

Upon completion of the User Form, the user's Irish1Card is activated to serve as an access key for the remainder of the current academic year, plus one semester. Please note: undergraduate students are only given access through May of the current academic year, and short-term visiting scholars for the duration of their stay.

Training

Before using CEST, all users must have completed Risk Management’s Laboratory Safety Training modules, and the appropriate level of Radiation training. At a minimum, all CEST users must complete the Radiation Awareness module in ComplyND.

Additionally, each user must be trained on the operation, care, and data export for each instrument they require. Trained users are required to run their analyses, take custody of their data promptly after it is generated, and clean the systems afterward.

To schedule a training session, researchers should contact CEST staff to set up a training date. Please note: instrument training is only to be conducted by CEST staff and current users are not to train their cohorts or subordinates on CEST assets.

Training typically encompasses the first three uses of an instrument:

  • The initial training is a demonstration, with the user taking notes and asking questions.
  • The next use of the system entails the user running the asset and the CEST staff member available to walk a user through the operation as needed.
  • A subsequent use(s) consist of the user running the device with the CEST staff member present as a reference and guide.

Once users indicate comfort in using the hardware and have demonstrated proficient instrument use, each user is given access to the asset for independent use. Please note: CEST’s IRMS assets have a greater oversight than other systems in the Center.

Scheduling

After training is completed, users are given access to each instrument’s Google Calendar and can schedule their own time to use the instruments. When scheduling instrument time, users must always select a start and end time for their use. All CEST users on an instrument have access to the calendar. Therefore, it's important to only make changes to your own scheduled uses, and not overlap on other reserved times. Please ensure that you reserve time on the appropriate instrument calendar.  

Canceling and Adjusting Reservations

If you must cancel a scheduled use for any reason, please delete your entry off of the corresponding Google Calendar. The same applies for adjusting the start or end times of instrument use. If you end your analysis early, promptly adjust the calendar accordingly.

Consumable Items

CEST users are responsible for consumable items used in the analysis of their samples. These can include, but are not limited to sample vials, flow cells, reagents, liquid chromatography (LC) mobile phase, LC columns, sample tins, and solvents for cleanup and rinsing.

Clean up and Clearing Systems

Following each use of CEST assets, researchers are responsible for leaving the system and surrounding workspace in the same conditions, or better, than when they started. LC systems must be rinsed with an appropriate rinse solution. Waste must be collected appropriately and removed to your lab. Any shortcomings in the instrument or problems with analysis should be noted in the correct log books and CEST staff should be notified to address the issues.

Special Sample Consideration

CEST is an open-access facility. Therefore, certain reagents are barred from being present in the lab, and others must be closely monitored.

Hydrofluoric acid (HF) is not allowed in the Center in any amount. If a user is running a procedure that calls for HF as part of the process, please discuss alternatives in advance with CEST staff.

Radioactive samples must be logged via a Special Sample Form. This form must be approved by the Director or Lab Manager prior to samples being brought into CEST. Additionally, only ultra-low radiation materials are allowed in the Center, and no more than 1 millicurie of Uranium-238, Thorium-232, or Trinitite are allowed.

Please note: swipe tests must be performed following any use of CEST instruments that involve radioactive materials. Documentation for recording these tests is available from CEST staff.

Acknowledgment

Users are requested to acknowledge CEST, as well as any other Notre Dame Research (NDR) facility they have used, in publications, reports, proposals, or presentations when Center assets were used and/or assistance is provided by facility staff. Please use a statement similar to the example below when acknowledging CEST:  

The (blank) analyses were conducted at the Center for Environmental Science and Technology (CEST) at University of Notre Dame.

Since acknowledgments in publications are a key indicator to Notre Dame Research of facility usefulness and success, a survey of publications are sent out annually to all principal investigators who use or supervise researchers that utilize CEST.