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Acid Hood

Auditory (Earphone) Policy

Chemical Requests

Dress Code

Equipment Access

Equipment Access Expiry

Equipment Cost Cap

Extended Access Hours

Facility Access

Labelling and Container Requirements

No-Shows and Late Cancellations

Overnight Access for Long Prep-times

Prohibited Items

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.

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


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


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. All eyewear in gowning does fit over glasses.
    • Compliance with gowning procedures demonstrated during walkthrough training is required.


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.


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.


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


Extended Access Hours

After 5-6 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.


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).


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.


No-Shows and Late Cancellations

Internal Pitt Users

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 3 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 4 to 5 points in a calendar month, you will be blocked from using some tools for a week.  If you incur more than 5 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

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.   


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.


Prohibited Items

All food, drinks, gum, and smoking and tobacco products are prohibited inside NFCF facilities. In addition, please limit the amount of makeup/cosmetic products worn inside NFCF facilities. All these items are prone to creating particulates that would destroy the integrity of the cleanroom.

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


Visitors to NFCF

NFCF staff must be made aware of all visitors to the cleanroom and the 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 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.



Winter Recess

NFCF open times are the same as those for Benedum Hall over Winter Recess. Further details can be found on the Pitt Academic Calendar, and may be sent out over FOM close to the Winter Recess.