Universal Birck Procedures for ALL Research Areas
The following procedures apply to all the Laboratories, the Nanofabrication cleanroom, and the Biocleanroom. There are also specific procedures required for each AREA, which are described individually in separate sections.
Access to the laboratories, the nanofabrication cleanroom, and the biocleanroom is strictly controlled and considered a privilege at Birck. All users are expected to adhere to a high standard of ethics, safety protocol, and lab courtesy to obtain and retain access to any of the facility’s aforementioned areas. Access and Training is described in Section 2.
4.1.1 Revocation of Access Privileges
User safety and the maintenance of shared equipment are the primary concern of all BNC members. To this end and to ensure uninterrupted research, Safety and Equipment Protocols are taken very seriously. The Process and Equipment Owners (Cleanroom Staff and Laboratory Staff) and/or faculty members have the right to immediately restrict access privileges of any user who violates laboratory, nanofabrication cleanroom, and biocleanroom or University policies. The disciplinary procedure is outlined below.
All access revocations will be reviewed by the disciplinary committee which is comprised of 4 faculty members and the facility manager. A log of violators will be kept by the chairperson of the disciplinary committee.
Sanctions for serious and/or repeated violations can be up to, and including, permanent expulsion from the laboratories, the nanofabrication cleanroom, or the biocleanroom. Suspensions are further discussed in Section 4.3.
4.1.2 Safety Training Documentation
No one will be allowed access to the laboratories, the nanofabrication cleanroom, or the biocleanroom until they have submitted documentation to the BNC Safety Manager certifying that they have received proper safety training. Appropriate safety guidelines issued by, but not limited to, the BNC, Purdue CHP, OSHA, and NFPA will be followed. Information on training required for specific labs can be obtained by contacting the Birck Training Coordinator.
4.1.3 Equipment Compentency and Certification
No one will be allowed to use any piece of equipment in the laboratories, the nanofabrication cleanroom, or the biocleanroom unsupervised until they have demonstrated their competency to the Process Owner of that particular piece of equipment and have achieved certification on that equipment. See Section 2.5.1
4.1.4 Financial Arrangements
No one will be allowed access to any of the laboratories, the nanofabrication cleanroom, or the biocleanroom until they have provided a valid account number or made other suitable financial arrangements. It is the responsibility of the user to make sure the account number stays valid. Any account number that is found to not be valid will result in suspension of laboratory privileges
IN THE EVENT OF AN EMERGENCY, CALL 911.
4.2.1 Operational Hours
The normal cleanroom hours of operation are from 7:00 AM until 12:00 midnight Monday through Friday and from 12:00 noon until 12:00 midnight on Saturdays and Sundays. Working in the cleanroom outside of those hours requires the user to be accompanied by another cleanroom-approved individual who will serve as a ‘safety buddy’ as there are no staff members or lab attendants in the facility at these times.
While the laboratories are open at all times, hazardous materials work may only be performed from 7:00 AM until 12:00 midnight Monday through Friday and from 12:00 noon until 12:00 midnight on Saturdays and Sundays. Working with hazardous materials and working in chemical fume hoods outside of those hours requires the user to be accompanied by another cleanroom-approved individual who will serve as a ‘safety buddy’ as there are no staff members or lab attendants in the facility at these times.
4.2.2 New Chemicals
No new chemicals – solid, liquid, or gaseous – will be introduced into the laboratories, nanofabrication cleanroom, or biocleanroom without the approval of the Equipment and Process Manager and the Safety Manager. This includes different concentrations/blends or grades of an existing chemical.
All new chemicals will be ordered by the Inventory Control Clerk, and received and placed in initial storage by the Inventory Control Clerk. If chemicals are non-standard for specific individual or group use only, the ICC will deliver to or inform the chemical owner of the arrival of chemicals.
Users should process all new chemical orders using Birck’s online chemical management system.
Search for the chemical of interest in the ChemMgmt data base. If it is not currently stocked at BNC, fill out the “Add Chemical/Material Form”. This process requires vendor contact information as well as an electronic copy of the chemical’s Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS). Furthermore, the Safety Manager will require a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) before approving new chemicals for use in a BNC lab.
Before a new chemical is used in the facility, the chemical must be approved for use, the MSDS must be on file in the master file and near the location of use, the chemical must be listed on the inventory for the appropriate laboratory, nanofabrication cleanroom or biocleanroom, and all people working in that laboratory, nanofabrication cleanroom or biocleanroom must be trained on the safety aspects of the chemical.
4.2.3 Existing Chemicals
All general laboratory chemicals are purchased by the Logistics Coordinator (LC); separate purchases by individual researchers are prohibited. This prevents unnecessary confusion and large inventories. A partial list of chemical supplies maintained by Birck Staff can be found in Appendix 1. To request that chemical supplies in a given area be replenished, use the Chemical Management site at
The LC will process all requests and restock supplies within 24 hours.
The Process Owner, the Safety Manager, and the Equipment and Process Manager reserve the right to terminate the use of any chemical in any and all laboratories if it is determined to be unsafe or if it interferes with another process.
4.2.4 New Processes
No new materials or processes may be introduced into the laboratories, nanofabrication cleanroom or biocleanroom without the approval of the Equipment and Process Manager and the Safety Coordinator. Every reasonable accommodation for new processes will be provided, but the safety and the cleanliness of a given system must be maintained.
The Process Owner and the Equipment and Process Manager reserve the right to terminate any process in any and all laboratories, the nanofabrication cleanroom, or the biocleanroom if it is determined to be unsafe or if it interferes with another process.
4.2.5 Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
Personal protective equipment must be worn in accordance with standard procedures for the laboratories, the nanofabrication cleanroom and the biocleanroom, and the requirements listed on the MSDS for the chemical(s) in use. The MSDS from the manufacturer of the material must be consulted to determine minimum PPE requirements.
For hazardous liquid chemical usage, personal protective equipment (PPE) consists of splash- proof goggles, apron and sleeves or apron with sleeves, and chemical-resistant gloves. If a user is pouring chemicals and/or performing operations with a higher risk of chemical exposure, a face shield must be added to the above PPE. The chemicals must be used in a vented chemicalhood.
When there is a risk of hazardous gas exposure, such as changing hazardous gas cylinders or maintaining hazardous gas systems, PPE consists of a self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA). This will include a portable (backpack) breathing-air cylinder and may include an air-line cart. Only those people certified by REM and/or the Purdue Fire Department, in the usage of SCBA may use SCBA. A minimum of two qualified persons must be present when performing these duties.
4.2.6 Required PPE for Laboratories
At all times while working in the laboratories, all personnel are required to wear eye protection. The sole exception to this rule is equipment labs without fume hoods or pressurized gasses (including house nitrogen). Splash-proof goggles are required while working in front of fume hoods. Face shields and splash-proof goggles are required when pouring chemicals.
Appropriate chemical-resistant gloves must be worn when working with any chemical.
Chemical-resistant aprons are required when working with corrosive chemicals. Lab coats are required when working with solvents.
Wavelength-specific protective eyewear must be worn while in a laboratory with an operating laser.
4.2.7 Chemical Usage Rules
In the laboratories, the nanofabrication cleanroom, or the biocleanroom, when using chemicals, empty one bottle before opening another. This has a direct effect on safety issues, storage efficiency, and cost.
126.96.36.199 Empty Chemical Bottles
When an acid or caustic bottle is emptied, rinse it inside and outside three times with deionized water in an acid hood, dry the outside of the bottle and attach a yellow “Safe For Disposal” tag, and place it in the appropriate waste/recycling bin (red).
When a solvent bottle is empty, blow dry the inside using house nitrogen such that no residual liquid remains, attach a yellow “Safe for Disposal” tag, and place in the appropriate waste/recycling bin (red).
188.8.131.52 Chemical Waste
Containers of waste chemicals must be labeled with the standard orange label. Waste chemical containers must NOT have a yellow “Safe for Disposal” label visible – these labels are only for empty bottles (see Section 184.108.40.206). Each of the materials in the container must be listed by its full name and approximate volume of solution added. Containers of waste chemicals must be capped at all times, unless expressly adding waste solution to the bottle. Do not leave funnels in waste containers and do not leave containers uncapped. All bottles placed in the waste chemical cabinets or other receptacles must be labeled.
220.127.116.11 Material Safety Data Sheets
In accordance with federal and state law each chemical manufacturer is required to provide the users with a Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) for all chemicals or compounds they manufacture. This sheet contains information on the name, physical characteristics, health hazards, reactivity and compatibility along with disposal requirements etc. BNC Staff are responsible for maintaining a file of MSDSs on all currently used materials. Files may be kept using hardcopy or downloaded electronic copies. These files shall be maintained in the galley with immediate access to all individuals working in that laboratory wing. MSDS information shall be updated as new information is received or electronic updates are made available. For details consult the Chemical Hygiene Plan and the Hazard Communication Program that could be found on the REM homepage under the industrial hygiene area at
It is the responsibility of the user to read all relevant MSDS before handling chemicals and to take appropriate precautions before initiating an experiment.
18.104.22.168 Compressed Gas Cylinders
Compressed Gas Cylinders: All compressed gas cylinders shall be handled as potential energy sources. This requires specific operating procedures and practices for inspection, transportation, storage, change-out and emergency handling.
All gas cylinders will be changed by laboratory staff. Gas cylinders must be properly secured when in use and when staged. Transport of cylinders must be by an approved cart with cylinder properly secured and cap securely attached.
Equipment users should monitor supply levels on a regular basis and request replacements 48 hours in advance of planned use.
4.2.8 Certification for Equipment Use
The Birck Nanotechnology Center utilizes a software system called “Coral” to organize equipment use, billing, reservations, etc. Prior to training in the Birck Nanotechnology Labs or Cleanroom, access to the Coral Software is required. The person with signature authority for the account to be charged (typically the PI) must complete the form at https://engineering.purdue.edu/NANO/coral.
In the laboratories, the nanofabrication cleanroom and the biocleanroom, equipment may only be used unsupervised by those certified on that piece of equipment. To become certified on a piece of equipment, contact the Process Owner responsible for the equipment and schedule a training session. Training can also be scheduled via the training website at: http://www2.itap.purdue.edu/bnc/training/. Successful completion of the training and passing the proficiency evaluation leads to certification. Upon certification by the process owner, the user’s login will be qualified in Coral. An asterisk will appear next to any authorized equipment name in Coral.
The Process Owner reserves the right to terminate certification of a user. Termination of a user’s certification will be based on the inability of user to safely operate the equipment or on a violation of equipment policies. If the user is determined to be incapable of operating any particular equipmentsafely, the certification will be terminated immediately. Recertification on any piece of equipment may be required after operational or safety updates, or after an extended period of non-use by the user. Theoperational and safety updates, as well as the expiration of certification on a piece of equipment are determined by the Process Owner. To renew certification, contact the Process Owner.
4.2.9 Reserving Equipment
The reservation policy for each piece of equipment can be found in the Coral hierarchy. Reservations must be continuous in time. For exceptions to the reservation policies, contact the Process Owner of the equipment. Coral allows the Process Owner to grant exceptions on a case-by-case basis. In the laboratories, the nanofabrication cleanroom, or the biocleanroom, be realistic and conscientious when singing up to reserve equipment.
Cancellation of an equipment reservation less than four hours prior to the scheduled use is considered a “no show.” Repeated no-show occurrences may result in forfeiture of your ability to sign up for equipment.
4.2.10 Staff Collaboration
Each resident faculty at Birck will receive 8 free hours of “technical staff” time per fiscal year to help with their research projects in the cleanroom and/or laboratories. Faculty who are heavy users will get an additional 8 hours for every $100K they spend in recharge. This will be tracked in Coral and reported monthly.
Log Books/Online Equipment Log
Fill out logbooks completely and legibly. It may be tedious to fill in all the blanks, but the information you provide can speed up troubleshooting and greatly reduce equipment down time.
Laboratory access may be suspended for failure to completely and legibly fill out log sheets.
The Birck Nanotechnology Center is a collaborative research center, which offers a unique opportunity for multidisciplinary research in a wide array of nanotechnologies. It also serves as a training ground for new researchers where they can develop and hone laboratory and cleanroom skills and techniques through the progression of their research projects. The working environment within the Birck facility is one of cooperation and teamwork. This concept extends across student groups, faculty, and the Birck staff. The Birck Center is a multi-user facility that affords researchers access to a wide variety of high-tech fabrication, characterization and measurement tools. Because of the multi-user nature of our facility, we must be particularly diligent in keeping equipment and facilities in top condition and ready for the next user. This requires a discipline and mind-set from all users to make sure they use the equipment in a responsible and professional manner, and then leave the equipment in good working condition when they're finished.
We understand that many laboratory and cleanroom techniques are unfamiliar and new, and that each student is on a learning curve as they progress through their research experience. However, deliberate and/or repetitive destruction of equipment or facilities, or continued safety violations that could endanger the student or other users of the facility must be dealt with by Birck management.
4.3.1 Safety Violations:
Safety violations are serious in that they can endanger a few or many people in the facility. For most first safety violations, the user will be reminded of the proper procedure and verbally corrected immediately. If the same user has a second violation then they will be issued a corrective e-mail by the Process and Equipment Manager, with a copy to their Faculty Advisor. Third violations by the same user will result in some period of expulsion from the labs and/or cleanroom. The period of expulsion will be decided by the Process and Equipment Manager and the Birck Director. More serious safety violations will be handled at the discretion of the Process and Equipment Manager and the Birck Director.
4.3.2 Procedural Violations
Procedural violations many times cause delays in subsequent research due to the necessity of cleaning, fixing, and/or decontaminating equipment that has been mistreated by the previous user. This can also lead to erroneous research results due to out-of-specification materials being processed. For the first violation the user will be corrected verbally. The second violation will result in a corrective e-mail being sent to the student. Upon the third violation the user and faculty advisor will receive a corrective e-mail, and the fourth violation will result in expulsion from the labs and/or cleanroom. The period of expulsion will be decided by the Process and Equipment Manager and the Birck Director. More serious procedural violations will be handled at the discretion of the Process and Equipment Manager and the Birck Director.
4.3.3 Equipment Misuse Violations
If users are careless and don’t follow procedures and break any equipment or contaminate it, their advisor will be charged for the staff time needed to re-train the student. We realize mistakes happen and this is part of the learning process, but repeated gross negligence will result in retraining charges. These retraining charges will be assessed when students misuse the equipment on a repeated basis after a written warning to the student and his/her advisor has been ignored. This affects all of the users of the facility and their productivity.
The approach described above is designed to promote a more collaborative working environment among the faculty, staff, and students, while at the same time ensuring a safe and effective research center for all users.
Any person, other than faculty and staff, who enters a laboratory at any time within a calendar month will be charged the monthly billing fee for that laboratory. Please note that sharing a badge or entry into a laboratory without a badge to avoid these charges constitutes theft, and will be dealt with accordingly.
Any person, other than faculty and staff, who enters the cleanroom or laboratory at any time within a calendar month will be charged the monthly billing fee for the cleanroom. This is regardless of whether there was one entry or many entries during that calendar month.
In addition to general entry charges which cover the cost of consumables and fixed costs within the laboratories, there are also equipment-usage fees.
Coral is the software suite used by the BNC to manage equipment reservations and billing within the facility. All users wishing to use equipment within the BNC must have a Coral login that charges to a valid One Purdue account number. Equipment must be enabled in Coral by the user controlling the equipment prior to use. Users are not to share login information.
To request a Coral login, the faculty advisor must fill out the form at:
Expired One Purdue charge accounts will be deactived, thereby preventing a user from equipment use.
Each piece of equipment in the laboratory, the nanofabrication cleanroom or the biocleanroom has a logbook. Users must sign into the logbook and Coral before any work is started. Logbooks are to be filled out completely and legibly.
Off-campus users will be subject to an overhead fee of approximately 50%.
Users operating a piece of equipment without enabling in Coral and signing into the log book are subject to procedural violation restrictions per the previous discussion.
As a courtesy to other users, only make reservations you intend to use. Reserving time for another user is prohibited and will result in loss of equipment privileges.
Recharge billings are distributed monthly to faculty for approval. If the monthly billings go unapproved or unchallenged for a period of one month, payment will automatically be processed.