Conceptual Protocol (UMN Users)

Most users seek training for independent instrumental use. The steps to begin that process are detailed in the section below (beginning at STEP 1).

Initial interactions require discussing the general appropriateness of our instrumentation and methods to your research problem and assessing previous experience with similar instrumentation, usually via preliminary email to the pertinent staff scientist(s).

Based on the involvement of our scientific staff, interaction with CharFac can proceed in one of the following directions:

      1. Training and assistance 

1.1 Basic Training: Training is available for those who wish to engage in significant and regular use of specific equipment. This kind of training is envisioned as a service for research groups who intend to continue using CharFac instruments independently. 

1.2 Assisted Measurement: Beyond initial training sessions, additional assisted sessions are often needed even for basic measurement techniques. Staff scientists are available to provide assistance and troubleshooting for all levels of experienced users.

1.3 Advanced Training: For users interested in utilizing instruments and measurement techniques beyond the basic measurements typically carried out, CharFac staff can provide an introduction to secondary complex techniques of various instruments. This kind of training is envisioned as a mentorship for scientists interested in long-term advanced measurements to complement their basic knowledge of techniques.

2. Measurement and analysis as a service 

CharFac staff experts can provide simple, straightforward measurements with a variety of instruments as a routine service. Typically raw data are provided, using a technique specifically requested and delineated by the client. In some cases first-line data processing and/or straightforward data analysis can be provided under the same rubric of simple/routine service. Discussion with the instrument specialist is mandatory to understand and agree upon the scope of work, so as to clearly differentiate from a research Collaboration (next section). One rule of thumb: When such work, if performed by a research groupmate, or a researcher from another group or university or national lab, would be done as a Collaborator (co-author), then of course it should be done as such with a CharFac staff expert. In any case the principal investigator must be in the loop for any/all decisions on this scope of work. 

      3. Collaborations

CharFac scientists are eager to be scientifically involved in the diverse research being conducted at the University of Minnesota. We are experts in our suite of techniques and as scientists, we embrace pushing forward our knowledge on a specific instrument/technique to participate and lead (if necessary) the production of state-of-the-art and cutting edge measurements. We can provide a more in-depth analysis to help better understand what the results really mean. It is simply the case for doing good science!

Please do not hesitate to contact scientific staff to discuss the characterization needs of your research proposals. Our expertise can be used more efficiently when we are involved in the initial stages of a proposal rather than when a project is fully defined and already proceeding.

Acknowledging CharFac


Any publications using the data obtained in the facility should acknowledge the Characterization Facility of the University of Minnesota. Suggested sentences might be "Parts of this work were carried out in the Characterization Facility, University of Minnesota, which receives partial support from the NSF through the MRSEC (Award Number DMR-2011401) and the NNCI (Award Number ECCS-2025124) programs.”

For basic measurements conducted by CharFac scientists, acknowledge the staff member. Whenever CharFac scientists are answerable to the scientific community on the details of the analytical work included in the publication, co-authorship may be provided. Any publications using advanced methodologies or analysis carried out by staff scientists at the Characterization Facility should include the respective staff scientist as a co-author and the parties responsible for the paper should involve them in the editing process.