Please use the below menu to browse and locate full detail related to each policy, available here for your review.

The following menu will help you navigate by category, you may use it to jump to a section.

You may additionally wish to review our page on expectations of all users.

Acid Hood

Auditory (Earphone) Policy

Virtual Buddy System

Chemical Requests


Dress Code

Equipment Access

Equipment Access Expiry

Equipment Cost Cap

Extended Access Hours

Facility Access

Labelling and Container Requirements

Lab Phones

No-Shows and Late Cancellations

Overnight Access for Long Prep-times

Prohibited Items

Safety Policy

Share Drive Guidelines

Training - Requests and Scheduling

Training - Group Schedule

Visitors to NFCF

Winter Reccess



Acid Hood Requirements

All work in the acid hood must be approved by NFCF staff. In order to use the acid hood within the cleanroom, users must don acid gloves, a chemical resistant lab coat, and chemical resistant eye protection. All these items can be found on shelves by the acid hood. In addition, HF must be measured with the plastic containers on the shelf to the left of the hood.

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Auditory (Earphone Policy)

  • Over the head headphones are not allowed
  • No porous materials allowed
  • Non-porous earphones accepted
  • Keep at low volume
  • Earphone use is discouraged for risk mitigation

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Virtual Buddy System

Our virtual buddy system is available for the conveince of easier arranging for someone to be aware of your presence in the lab during off hours.

  • Anyone who has a Pitt login can simply sign in to this channel.  If you want to set up a buddy that does not have a Pitt login (family, friend, roommate, etc) simply send their email address to nfcfadmn@pitt.edu with request they be added.

How to Join Our Teams

There are multiple ways to join this University of Pittsburgh public team.  The following are available directly to those with University of Pittsburgh login credentials.  Outsider users will need to contact a staff member to be added.

  • You may navigate to https://teams.microsoft.com/_#/discover and proceed with one of the following two options:
    • Use the “join Team with code” function - use Team code:  1c1liuo
    • or use the "Search teams" control, and search for "NFCF - PINSE Public" and click “join”
    • You may also join via this link: NFCF - PINSE Public team

Buddy System Guidelines

In our NFCF Teams Channel, the Buddy-System channel is part of a lab safety package intended to allows user working 'after-hours' the ability to check-in and communicate with a designated 'Buddy'.

  • Teams Electronic Buddies are required for any after-hour use, when staff are not present at the lab.  During COVID-19 there are no in-person buddies, and the following guidance is suggested.
  • You will need to have a buddy arranged for yourself in advance of your scheduled equipment time
  • Buddy system is required regardless of whether the equipment you are using is considered dangerous or not.
  • If a nearby bay is in use while you are in the lab, you and the other user can arrange that you’ll be at 6 foot + distance while using the lab and keep sufficient contact for safety.  If your buddy leaves, they or someone else must maintain electronic contact.  Please plan accordingly.
  • Whether your buddy is in the lab or remote – the Buddy channel should be used for buddy check-in tracking. 
  • In an emergency, your buddy should assist you themself or contact Pitt police at 412-624-2121 to get help.
  • Staff will have access to the Teams buddy-system group, and we plan to review your use of the buddy channel to ensure users are meeting the safety requirements.
  • Check-in should be performed via video chat, or text, at a frequency sufficient for the equipment in use. 
  • Contact points should be made in Teams not more than 60 minutes apart, as well as at the time safe exit of the lab, this should be reported and confirmed both by worker and buddy.
  • Reminder: staff are available as buddy during their work hours on site, and for after hours you will arrange your own buddy through the teams channel.



Chemical Requests

All Chemicals used in the NFCF require prior approval of the NFCF Staff

If you would like to have a new chemical or new chemical mixture, not normally stocked in the NFCF, you must submit a digital request in advance to a member of the NFCF staff and await discussion and approval. Approval requests must be made digitally and should provide a complete description of the produce or products desired, including:

  • Manufacture name
  • Manufacturer’s catalog number
  • MSDS Forms for all chemicals to be used
  • Complete description of the planned process
  • Expected reactions
  • Any expected by-products
  • Any safety concerns
  • A suggested waste disposal plan
  • Indicate what labelling you will mark on the container in compliance with the labeling policy

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Courtesy in the Lab

  • All shared areas, such as hoods and counters, should be kept clean.  Instructions for proper cleaning are provided during equipment trainings.
  • Always make a reservation in FOM to use an instrument.  If using express log in, always select a realistic time you expect to finish using the equipment.
  • Other lab users rely on the FOM schedule for planning their use of the equipment.  Reservations take priority.
  • Sign in before use and sign out after use so all users have access to the instrumentation

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Dress Code

Requirements for ALL NFCF lab spaces:

  • Shoes that completely & securely cover the foot must be worn at all times in all NFCF labs
    • No sandals, strap heels, slides, flip-flops, slipper or sock type shoes, Crocks or similar type shoe, & absolutely no bare feet! 
    • No platforms, wedges or high heels (shoe covers reduce traction)
    • No boots or other shoes with deeply grooved shoe soles (this type of sole frequently picks up rocks and deposits them in the lab) 
    • November 1 – April 30 - please bring a pair of shoes that have not been exposed to road salt or mud to wear in the NFCF.  A space for outdoor shoes is provided under our locker unit.
  • Do not wear extremely fuzzy fabric inside any NFCF lab space. This includes fabrics that may shed fibers, i.e. angora, heavily pilled fleece, etc.
  • Bulky items such as backpacks and coats are not permitted inside the lab. A space for coats and backpacks is provided in our locker unit
    • All bags left by the locker unit must have name and contact information visible on them. Any bag without a name will be labeled a security risk and treated as such. Sticky notes and pens are provided by the lockers.

Specific Requirements for NFCF Cleanroom Space:

  • No garments with high, turtle neck type collars or hoods may be worn into the Cleanroom.
  • Long hair must be tied up to fit under a hair cover.
  • Entering the cleanroom requires that users put on face and hair covers, shoe covers, gloves, protective eyewear, and Cleanroom coveralls. Please be sure to wear appropriate clothing.
    • If you require accommodations, please contact the NFCF administrator.
    • Please wear a beard cover even if you are wearing a hood, as the hood tends to slip off the nose. Both mouth and nose must be covered at all times.
    • All users must wear provided eye protection. A user’s own glasses do not provide adequate protection against chemical spills or projectiles. Provided eyewear in gowning will fit over glasses.  Users may use any provided face shield, goggles, or safety glasses provided, or bring their own labratory-grade protective eyewear.
    • Compliance with gowning procedures demonstrated during walkthrough training is required.

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Equipment Access

Both Internal Pitt Users and External Users

In order to use any equipment in NFCF labs, users must go through the required training. This gives users access to the equipment for as long as they use it. In order to promote the health of our equipment, if a user has not accessed a specific equipment for six months, their access will be suspended on FOM. Retraining is needed in order to regain access. In order to avoid unnecessary retraining, FOM will alert users one month in advance of their access expiry date.

Internal Pitt Users

For each training session, users are charged for the staff time of the training divided by the number of students in the training group; thus individual trainings are more expensive than group trainings. Users are also charged for the tool time during training. However, if a user uses the tool within one month of training, they will be granted an equivalent amount of tool time for free.

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Equipment Access Expriy

Equipment access is granted after completing training on an equipment.

Ongoing use of the equipment will allow users to maintain equipment access.

If a user does not make use of the equipment for a 6 month or longer period of time, with an FOM login registered for their usage point in their records, then the equipment access will automatically expire.

FOM will issue an email to the user 6 weeks prior to the loss of equipment access as a warning in advance of the access being lost.  This is to allow the user an opportunity to log use on the machine and maintain their access.

If a user loses their access based on the above process, request of access should be discussed with the training staff member for the specific equipment in question.  The training staff member at the NFCF will schedule a retraining or guided run based on the amount of experience you had recorded in FOM with this machine prior to the loss of access to the equipment.  Any retraining needed will incur usual training costs.

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Equipment Cost Cap

For Internal Users Only

NFCF has implemented an equipment usage price cap on both monthly and yearly bases to enable cost prediction for grant proposals. These caps do not influence training, sample/process service, consumables, and cancellation/no-show fees.

Academic monthly cap per PI group: $2,500 per month

Academic yearly cap per PI group: $25,000 per fiscal year

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Extended Access Hours

After 5-6 successful usages of an equipment, a daytime access user may request extended access provided the following:

  • This offer is available for users who are graduate level or above internal or external
  • This offer is available for users who are staff level and above internal or external
  • Users who are undergraduate, or non-staff (ex: volunteer or temp positions) will need to be with an approved person of the higher level at all times and will be the responsibility of the person who is granted access.

The NFCF Staff member who provided the equipment training will determine access based on history of use at the time of access, including assistance needs during the preceding times.

Undergraduates and externals are granted daytime access 8am to 6pm weekdays, availability of extended access for undergraduate and external lab users is on a case by case basis.

Please note that the access granted on your Pitt ID will need to be manually updated as well, once the above approval is granted.  Please contact nfcfadmn@pitt.edu with request to update your card as applicable.  A photo of the front and back of your card may be requested for processing.

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Facility Access

In order to access the facility, persons must go through the new user orientation, at which point they will be granted card access to the lab. All faculty and graduate researchers have 24/7 access, but undergraduate users are only allowed during business hours (8:30 to 5:00).

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Labeling and Container Requirements

All samples (liquids, vials, boxes, etc) brought into the NFCF lab must have owner’s name and contents on the container. This applies even if the item will be with a user at all times. This is because forgotten items without a label have to be processed as an unknown material, which is considerably more expensive.

In addition, any container going inside the cleanroom must be clear and sealable. Cleanroom grade foil is provided for light-sensitive samples and may be brought outside the cleanroom if the sample needs to be rewrapped.

All rules that apply to the cleanroom also apply to gowning, so please do not bring any non-compliant materials into the gowning room.

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Lab Phones

Lab phones will connect to area codes 412 and 724

  • Please do not make any personal call. The phones are for business and emergency use only
  • Do not talk on the phones while working, stop working and complete the call before resuming work

If you have any questions, please contact the NFCF at nfcfadmn@pitt.edu or call 412-383-8001. Please do not call indiviual staff members phone numbers, call the number provided above. 

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No-Shows and Late Cancellations

Expectation of use

It is expected that all users will carefully schedule their reservations within FOM and as much as possible process any cancellation greater than 24 hours in advance. 

And of course we understand that various other types of urgent situations can sometimes arrise.  If you discover that you must cancel a session less than 24 hours in advance, please follow this procedure:

  1. Go to your reservation and select cancel.
  2. When offered, select "cancel with fee" to complete the cancel.
  3. Email nfcfappeals@pitt.edu with explanation of reason for late cancel for consideration of waiver.  Include equipment name, date, and time of event.
  4. Please provide your request for waiver in a timely manner - if billing cut off dates occur after your event but before your request it may not be possible to reverse.

This process allows for the equipment to be provided as free for other users as soon as possible but also allows you the chance to be considered for waiver of any related penalty if the reason is supported.

Post-COVID update - we request anyone finding themselves sick in any way, yes please do cancel and avoid attending the lab.  We request you put in the cancel and just ask for waiver.  Of course if you are too unwell to operate FOM from home to do this, let us know whenever you can and we'll help you with that retroactively with our hope that you will feel better very soon. 

Please avoid no-shows completely - except in cases of medical emergency or other extreme situations, no shows will not be considered for waiver.

Penaties may include the following:

Internal Pitt Users - Points system

This policy is intended to promote responsible scheduling and use of equipment, and is based on a point system and corresponding sanctions.

Point System:  If you have a 'no-show', then you will accrue 2 points, and if you have a 'late' cancellation then you will accrue 1 point.  Note that a 'no-show' applies if you are more than 30 minutes late for a reservation start time and have not provided an acceptable excuse to the NFCF administrator. A 'late' cancellation is assigned if you cancel less than 24 hours in advance of reservation start time and have not provided an acceptable excuse to the NFCF administrator. Points will accrue from the first of the calendar month to the end of the calendar month, and then they will reset to zero.  If you believe that a particular 'no-show' or 'late reservation' should be excused, you are responsible for informing the NFCF administrator within 3 days of the event by sending an email to nfcfappeals@pitt.edu

Sanctions:  If you incur 5 points in a calendar month, you will be provided with a warning and reminded of the NFCF expectations for responsible reservation and usage of equipment.  If you incur 6 to 7 points in a calendar month, you will be blocked from using some tools for a week.  If you incur more than 7 points in a month, you will receive a stronger sanction that is proportionate to the violations (e.g., blocked from a tool for a month, or even blocked from the facility for a month).

External users - Fee system

No-show and late-cancellations will result in the cost of one hour of use applied to your bill per each occurrence.  You may also email the NFCF Administrator at nfcfappeals@pitt.edu within three days to provide excuses for consideration of exception, if applicable.  Note that a 'no-show' applies if you are more than 30 minutes late for a reservation start time and have not provided an acceptable excuse to the NFCF administrator. A 'late' cancellation is assigned if you cancel less than 24 hours in advance of reservation start time and have not provided an acceptable excuse to the NFCF administrator.   

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Overnight Access for Long Prep-times

As some processes have long prep times, users have the ability to reserve equipment overnight. In order to avoid excessive fees, overnight reservations should be sent through NFCF staff before reservation in FOM. Users should email either the equipment manager (the one who give the training) or the NFCF admin with the estimated timeframe for the entire process. The equipment managers will reserve maintenance time overnight, which allows the process to continue without billing a user. Users should confirm with staff that the maintenance time is booked, then if necessary log in the night before and place any necessary items. The next morning, no later than 8 AM, the user should log in and begin the process.

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Prohibited Items

All food, drinks, gum, and smoking and tobacco products are prohibited inside NFCF facilities.

Bags should not be brought into the lab spaces, any bags that will be left unattended should be marked with the owners name.

In addition, please limit the amount of makeup/cosmetic products worn inside NFCF facilities.

All these items are prone to creating particulates that would significantly damage the integrity of the cleanroom and its buffer zones.

In addition, all computers in NFCF facilities are reserved for equipment use only. No flash/jump drives are permitted with use in the computers. 

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Safety Policies

Users must follow all common sense lab saftey practices. All chemicals brought into the NFCF require approval of the NFCF, please contact nfcfadmn@pitt.edu

Eye Protection must be worn by everyone in the lab. Aprons are required anytime chemicals are being mixed. Face shields are required if the hood's shield must be open. Chemical gloves are required when using acids or caustics. Safety glasses, googles, face shields, chemical aprons, and protective gloves are provided in the lab and can be found in designated areas. 

Please pick up after yourself. Wipe up all spills immediately, no matter how small! Pick up the work area when you are finished. 

Report all incidents and/or injuries, no matter how minor, to an NFCF staff member.

If the fire alarm, gas alarm or exhaust failure alarm goes off, immediately exit to the closest door. Do not take time to save experiments. Do not take time to shut down anything. Do not stop to remove cleanroom garments. Please exit the building, at minimum and cross the street. 

MSDS forms for all material stocked in the NFCF labs are available on the NFCF website and can be found here. 

All users must be trained before using any instrument and/or resources in the NFCF. Traning requests can be made throught FOM. Training is provided by NFCF members only. Specific safety issues related to individual equipment will be covered during training for the equipment. The training policies can be found here. Reservations for the use of all instruments and/or facilitiess are strongly recommended. Reservations can be made throught FOM

Users must 'log-on' before beginning use of NFCF facilities. Users must 'log-off' when finished using NFCF facilities. Logging on and off is accomplished through FOM. Please notify nfcfadmn@pitt.edu if you forget to log off for correction. 

Additional safety items:

  • Leave instruments in appropriate 'Stand-By' condition when finished
  • Do not attempt repairs on any equipment, instead contact an NFCF staff member
  • Do not attempt to change modules, add accessories, make any modifications or change alignment to any instrument without prior approval for an NFCF staff member
  • Do not contact equipment manufacturers with problems, please contact and NFCF satff member

Do not remove any items supplied by the NFCF from the lab

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Share Drive Guidelines

The NFCF has a share drive available for short term file transfer.  This allows our machines to remain protected from malware, and also allows for remote access to data.

Inside the lab, there are several file transfer computers available for use.  There are also current up to date remote access instructions available from nfcfadmn@pitt.edu.  When using the machines, files can be saved to your designated folder in the share drive, which process is taught during initial training on the machine.  From there you must retrieve and remove your data from the share drive in a reasonable amount of time to allow the drive to continue to be usable by other members of the lab.  Our drive has a size limit and if over-limit the availability of our machines will become limited.

Please contact nfcfadmn@pitt.edu for instructions for remote access or ask any member of the lab for direction to the data retrieval computer, so that you can remove your data from the shared drive.  Periodic share drive cleanups may be undertaken.  We will do our best to contact any users that are occupying significant space prior to cleaning up the drive.  Data is, however, the responsibility of the user.

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Training - Requests and Scheduling

If you are not yet a user, please refer to the Become A User section for instruction.  User setup and orientation must be completed before training request feature is activated in FOM.

If you have completed new user orientation, then your FOM setup will have the following sequence available to you for requesting equipment training:

All requests for training must be submitted through FOM.  Note that you must complete orientation for the lab area where the equipment is located before the below process will be available to you.  If you have completed all orientation training and are still having trouble accessing the training requests, please contact nfcfadmn@pitt.edu

If your orientation is completed and confirmed by staff, you will be able to follow these steps:

-          Log into your FOM account at https://fom.nano.pitt.edu/

-          Tip: if you are in the new interface for mobile, click on the FOM logo to go back to the original interface first, before proceeding with the following steps.

-          To top right, click the [+] button next to PINSE

-          A long list of equipment appears

-          Click the equipment you’re wanting to apply for

-          Fill out the “New User Application Form” that pops up

-          Click [Apply] when complete

-          Click [OK] to finalize and send application for training


This process sends an email to the appropriate staff for each equipment that you request.  The staff will contact you directly with their schedules.


If you are requesting an equipment that is part of the Group Training Schedule, please type this as part of your request in the text box provided when submitting this training application.

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Training - Group Schedule (Trial program 2020)

As a trail starting in 2020, and for limited equipment, we are offering an option to attend some centralized frequently needed equipment as part of a group.

The group training is expected to be offered 1x per month for the following equipment.  The time for the group trainings are not flexible, they are offered based on convenience to the lab, and will not produce a cost of training to your PI.

Each Free Group Schedule Training has a maximum number for attendees.  If you need a training sooner than the group session option will allow, please request training via the main-stream training request option, with charges to your PI for equipment and staff training time.  To understand our pricing, you can review the pricing section of our website.

List of available trainings

JEOL SEM (Typically 3rd Thursday 1-5pm, maximum class size 3 people)

XRD (Typically 4th Thursday 1-5pm, maximum class size 3 people)

Basic Cleanroom Lab Resources - (Typically 3rd Tuesday 1-5pm, maximum class size 5 people) includes all of the following:

                -  Spinner Hood 1 and 2 and Developer Hood 3

                -  HMDS Oven

                -  Surface Profiler

                -  Zeiss Optical Microscope

The benefit of waiting for a group training offering is that you will not have a cost incurred with the trainings on these equipment.  You will still need to return to use the equipment with 6 months to keep your access, as per the access expiration policy included here.  The Group trainings will also be subject to the no-show and late cancellation policy.  If you wish to be included in these group trainings, please note this in the text box during the training request process.  Once the staff receive your request through FOM, they will alert you when the next available group training date is.  If the wait-time does not meet your needs, you can schedule a traditional training time with the staff at that time by email correspondence as needed.

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Visitors to NFCF

The following requirements apply to visitors for NFCF

  • NFCF staff must be made aware of all visitors.
  • Visit must occur during staff hours.
  • Visitors must not operate any equipment.
  • The user that brings a visitor in is responsible for them at all times.
  • Visitors should be provided with the dress code in advance of visit.
  • If using Cleanroom, vsitors must go through gowning with staff assistance at least once.  
  • If a visitor will be returning on a regular basis, it is recommended that they go through the free orientation.

A vistor is considered to be any person who does not have current access to the lab - this includes expired access, and includes users that did not yet complete the orientation for the area requested.  If you are not active for Cleanroom, your access to the cleanroom will be as visitor to that section, even if your Characterization access is active.

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Winter Recess

Dates of winter recess will be open as Weekend access - if you have weekend/ evening access you will be able to access the lab as normal.  Staffing will be limited during the winter recess period.  Please note that you may need to request exterior building access in order to gain access to Benedum hall, you can reach out to the NFCF Administrator for assitance with that.  Closures may be scheduled for maintenance during Winter Recess and those will be announced via FOM email in advance.  Further details can be found on the Pitt Academic Calendar, and may be sent out over FOM close to the Winter Recess.

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