*Remember, if you are going to use ANY laboratory at the University of Michigan, you should take the required safety training organized by OSEH first!

What is EMAL? The University of Michigan Electron Microbeam Analysis Laboratory or EMAL is a university-wide USER facility for the structural and chemical characterization of materials at nanometer length scales.

The laboratory was originally established in 1978 with the goals of providing and maintaining state-of-the-art equipment for use by the university research community. The laboratory was divided into two when the Department of Materials Science & Engineering moved to its current North Campus location.

Where is EMAL? The addresses of the two locations are as follows:

Central Campus EMAL
Geological Sciences
R.B. Mitchell Laboratory
1006 C.C. Little Building
University of Michigan
Ann Arbor MI 48109-1063
Email: CC.EMAL.Info@umich.edu
Phone: (734) 615-6657
FAX: (734) 763-4690
North Campus EMAL
Space Research Building
University of Michigan
2455 Hayward
Ann Arbor MI 48109-2143
Email: NC.EMAL.Info@umich.edu
Phone: (734) 936-3352
FAX: (734) 764-2931

Maps are also available to locate the two labs.

What is available in EMAL? Information on the instruments in EMAL is available on the instruments web pages. If, however, you are looking for a description of the current instruments in the facility that you wish to include in a proposal or to send to prospective new faculty, then please see the EMAL description documents that are available in Microsoft Word format or PDF format.

If you have questions about this document, please contact John Mansfield

I need to use EMAL, what do I do?
  1. Find out as much as possible about your samples.
  2. Figure out exactly what you want to know.
  3. Decide which instrument will give you the answers you are looking for.
  4. Find out how to prepare your samples from your colleagues or the scientific literature.
  5. Prepare your samples.
  6. Get a copy of the User Authorization Form from the EMAL website (pdf or html).
  7. Complete the "Authorized Users Information" section of the form. Signing the form means that you certify that you have read the pertinenet safety proceedures for the equipment you will use and have attended the U of M OSEH training classes.
  8. Indicate which instruments you wish to use by checking the "Instruments Authorized" check boxes.
  9. Have your advisor complete the "Director Information" part of the form.
  10. Obtain the "M-Pathways Account Information" for the University account to which you will be billing your usage, and the contact person for the account - usually your departmental financial administrator. If you have a 6-digit number, convert it to M-Pathways format here.
  11. Send email to John Mansfield, Kai Sun, Haiping Sun Anja Schleicher or Gordon Moore to request training on the EMAL instrument of your choice. Include the answers to 1 and 2 above. Also mention any prior experience you may have had. If you have no prior experience, try to sit behind a colleague and watch them use the instrument for a session or two.
  12. Read the instrument handbook before you come to training. Bring your copy with you to make notes on.

How do I know which Instrument use? If you email John Mansfield, Kai Sun, Anja Schleicher or Gordon Moore with the answers to the first two questions above, then we can help you choose the appropriate instrument.

You can also peruse the instrument information on this website.

How much will it cost? All of the instruments in EMAL are charged at the same rate. How much your particular research problem will cost depends on your experience and on what you are trying to do.

I am not from the U of Michigan. Can I still use EMAL? Yes. We have several users from other universities and local industry. Call or send email to John Mansfield (734) 936-3352, Kai Sun (734) 936-3353, Haiping Sun (734) 936-3338 or Gordon Moore and Anja Schleicher (734) 615-6657. You will need to set up a PO payable to "The University of Michigan", or have a credit card to charge your microscopy time to.

My advisor wants me to "get trained" but I don't have samples yet. When you have your research samples ready to be examined, the staff will arrange a time to train you. Users are trained on the EMAL instruments while examining their own research samples. During the training session you will learn some operating tips specific to your samples and will usually get some initial results for your research project.

But can't I get trained on practice samples now and come back when I have my own samples? The Staff of EMAL have found that if they train users who have no samples of their own, then two things typically happen:
  1. By the time the user has samples of their own, they have forgotten how to use the instrument and must be re-trained.
  2. They do not learn how to optimize the conditions for the type of sample they will be viewing and therefore need additional training when they get their own samples.

EMAL has limited staff and many users (see these statistics for further information) and repeat training sessions wastes valuable time.

It will take me too long to learn. Can't you just do it for me? In a word, no. EMAL has limited staff and many users (see these statistics for further information) and there are not enough of us to perform service work. Much of the research that is carried out in EMAL could not be done on a service basis anyway, as the problems to be solved are too complex to be answered on the basis of a few hours of TEM time and a handful of images.

How much will it cost to "get trained"? Learning how to use the basic functions of any of the instruments in EMAL may be quite straightforward. While users are being trained the rates are those applicable to normal use by that class of user (university, external university or industry), plus the standard operator assistance charge for that class of user. How much it costs for you to become an expert user will depend on exactly what you are trying to do. It maybe that you have to collaborate with members of the EMAL staff to get your initial results and/or complete your project.

Does the EMAL staff do collaborative projects? Yes, indeed EMAL staff can become involved in research projects and prospective collaborators should contact John Mansfield, Kai Sun, Haiping Sun or Gordon Moore and Anja Schleicher for further details. Note that again there is a limit to these collaborations because there are only 2.2 full-time staff in the NC EMAL and 2 full-time staff in CC EMAL.

I see that I have been charged for operator assistance, that means that I don't have to put any of the EMAL staff as co-authors on any of my papers, right? The operator assistance charge is $10 per hour and is therefore really only a token charge, but where the EMAL staff have simply shown users how to align the instruments and determine which buttons to press, then it is assumed that there is no serious contribution to the research project and co-authorship is not expected. However, if any of the EMAL staff have helped design the series of experiments, helped prepare the samples, performed a significant amount of the microscopy and have had a role in the interpretation of the data then it is only common courtesy to add their name(s) as co-authors on any subsequent publications.

Do I have to acknowledge EMAL in my publications? Yes, this is extremely important. Publications citing EMAL use are essential when a proposal is being prepared for a replacement instrument, when the current equipment begins to wear out or become obsolete. A reprint of any publication that contains data recorded in EMAL should be supplied to John Mansfield, Kai Sun or Carl Henderson. We would like a copy of all Ph.D and MS theses and will pay for the copy if necessary.

I think I saw some graduate students from another research group training new users, can I do that? Maybe. There are a number of groups who have a long and continuing relationship with EMAL and have a number of senior graduate students and post-docs who have considerable experience on the EMAL instruments. When they have new users in their groups the more experienced users will often work with the new users to get them started on their projects and familiarize them with the instruments. The senior user must be in the instrument room at all times during any such introduction. The EMAL staff only permit this when they know that the senior student users are very experienced and know exactly how the staff would like to see the new users trained. New users must all be reviewed by EMAL staff prior to using the instruments on their own.

Can I book as much time as I want on the microscopes? In a word: NO
Users should remember that the North Campus Instruments are very popular and have several hundred registered users. For this reason regular daytime access is limited to ONE 4-hour slot per user per week. So, when booking in advance for any particular calendar week you may only book one slot in the 8am to 5pm time frame. If, at the beginning of any particular week, there are day time slots available, you may then book additional slots. Users booking multiple slots in advance may have their access to the North Campus EMAL restricted.

Other Frequently Asked Questions Got any questions? Email John Mansfield, Kai Sun, Haiping Sun, Gordon Moore or Anja Schleicher.