Training & becoming an authorized user:
Contact: Dr. Donggao Zhao
Phone: 512-471-1177 (O), 512-471-4949 (lab)
SEM / ESEM / XRD/EPMA
Training for these instruments is provided by a formal course GEO 390R
Analytical Techniques: Electron-beam Analysis, which is
offered every fall semester and required for all student users. Enrollment is limited, so don't wait to sign up. If you are not an
authorized user, it's a good idea to start hanging out in the lab with your
who are in the same research group with you or have research interests similar
to yours. You may study the instructions in the labs first and become familiar
with the locations of the various
panel controls and what they're for. Donggao can answer further
questions on aspects of machine operation that seem unclear, plus consult on the
particular experimental settings or conditions that might be appropriate to your project. When
you're ready to operate the machine, schedule some time with Donggao and show him that you can run the
machine from startup to shutdown. If Donggao is convinced of your operation
and you're comfortable with the
machine, you get your pilot's license and become an authorized user. As an authorized user it's partly your job to help
out with teaching new users who want to learn.
Specifics for Electron Microprobe
The electron probe is much more complicated. There are two crucial aspects that make
learning probe operation a much bigger deal. First, the probe is automated to a
far greater degree, making it necessary to involve the probe computer to some
extent even in simple operations like moving your sample in and out of focus.
Second, probe data are quantitative and there's a lot of computational and
statistical rigmarole that comes into play between detection and data. If your
project with EPMA is not likely to get underway within a semester of your
finishing the course, it might be wiser to wait. It's awkward to sit down at the
probe and get data if it's been a while since you used the instrument. In
general, probe users who've finished the course get a sort of limited license,
allowing them to schedule instrument use during normal working hours. Later,
when Donggao decides you've logged considerable machine time with no problems,
you get a full license and you can probe nights, weekends, whenever.
Users from other departments at UT and also from outside the university
occasionally bring samples to the Electron Microbeam Laboratories. Because this is
primarily a teaching laboratory all users are required to run their own samples.
There is no technician available to collect data for outside users. Most outside
use takes place in the context of collaborative projects related to current
research conducted by authorized users.