User Orientation and Safety Training

All new users must read this User Orientation and Safety Training Guide, and score 100% on a short quiz that follows, before beginning any work at CHESS.

CHESS serves a wide spectrum of experimental groups from universities, national laboratories, and industries. Scientists and students from around the world visit CHESS to collect data using our eleven beamlines.

In order to ensure that everyone at CHESS is familiar with our policies and safety protocols, all users are required to review this User Orientation and Safety Training document and score 100% on a short online exam each year. All new users must also be given a New User Safety & Orientation Tour. Returning users may be given a Refresher Tour as needed to highlight any changes that have happened in the lab. This helps ensure your visit to CHESS will be both safe and productive.

Arrival and Departure

CHESS is located in Wilson Synchrotron Laboratory on Cornell University campus in Ithaca, NY. CHESS is part of a larger organization at Cornell University called CLASSE, the Cornell Laboratory for Accelerator-Based Sciences and Education.

Smoking is not allowed in Wilson Lab, or in any other building on Cornell’s campus. If smoking outside, you must be at least 25 feet away from the building.

Parking is available on the southeast side of the lab. The entrance to the parking lot is at the intersection of Route 366 and Pine Tree Rd. “ME” parking permits are required Monday-Fri day from 8am-5pm. If your vehicle is not registered at Cornell, you may obtain a parking permit from the CHESS User Office.

If you arrive at CHESS between 8am-4:30pm Monday-Friday, check-in at the CHESS User Office located on the 2nd floor as soon as you arrive. If arriving after 4:30pm, or on a weekend or holiday, check-in with the CHESS Operator at the CHESS Operations desk, located on the first floor.

There is a CHESS Operator on shift 24/7 during beamtime operations. If you do not see the operator at the Operations desk, flip the toggle switch on the wall, and the Operator will meet you at the desk. You can also always reach the CHESS Operator by calling (607) 255-7163.

Each beamline has a dedicated landline telephone; you will be given its number during check-in. You may give that number to collaborators/group members who may be contacting you during your beamtime. These phones may also be used to make local calls (area code 607). You must dial 9 before calling an outside line. Please use a personal cell phone or calling card for dialing long distance calls.

Access to the building

Wilson Lab doors are unlocked from 7am-6pm Monday-Friday. Doors are locked on evenings, weekends, and holidays, and can be accessed with a properly active ID card (see below).

If doors are found to be locked upon arrival, use the video-intercom next to the door to ask to be let in. Intercoms are located at the building entrance at the bottom of the loading dock on the 1st floor, and at the 5th floor entrance on Campus Rd.

CHESS Video Intercom box
The light grey box at the top of the photo is a video-intercom.  Activated ID cards can be held in front of the dark grey box at the bottom of the photo to allow access into Wilson Lab when the doors are locked.

Checking-In and Start of Experiment

During your check-in (either with the CHESS User Office during normal hours or with the CHESS Operator after hours), you will receive a radiation badge and a folder containing a campus map, information about computers/networking, and CHESS and Cornell policies. You will also be assigned a temporary ID card for building access and a parking permit, if needed. Users with a Cornell ID can request to have their IDs activated by the CHESS User Office before their beamtime starts, which will enable building entry.

At least one member of your group will be e-mailed a link to a feedback form when you arrive.

The CHESS Operator will provide New User Safety and Orientation Tours and Refresher Tours as needed.

Any group working on a proposal that has been deemed hazardous by the Safety Committee must also check-in with the assigned Safety Officer. The “Bringing Hazardous Materials to CHESS” section of this training gives more details about hazardous proposals at CHESS.

After check-in is complete, the Beamline Scientist or Support Staff will help users set up their experiment and prepare for data collection.

Checking-Out at End of Experiment

When your beamtime is over, you MUST check-out in person with the CHESS Operator. The Operator will collect your radiation badge, parking permit, and temporary ID. Please do not leave these items on the desk if the Operator is not present – flip the toggle switch to page the Operator and check out in person. Please remember to have a representative from your group fill out the survey form that was e-mailed to the group during check-in. User feedback is an important tool for CHESS to continue to meet the user community’s needs.

Groups working on a hazardous proposal must also check out with their Safety Officer.

CHESS Floor Plan
First Floor Plan of Wilson Lab CHESS Areas


Radiation Hazards

New York State licenses Cornell University to administer use of radiation-producing equipment (RPE) and radioactive sources. The online Cornell Radiation Safety Manual specifies applicable regulations.

Electromagnetic radiation is classified as either ionizing or non-ionizing. Ionizing radiation has enough energy to remove tightly bound electrons from atoms, creating ions. X-rays, gamma rays, high energy electrons, positrons, and neutrons are examples of ionizing radiation. Non-ionizing radiation doesn’t have enough energy to remove electrons from atoms. Examples of non-ionizing radiation are visible light, radio and television broadcast signals, cellphone and wireless internet connections, and microwaves.

We are all exposed to small amounts of radiation every day – from the ground (terrestrial), from outer space (cosmic), in certain foods, in our bodies, and from medical procedures. This is considered “background” radiation. We measure radiation with the unit “rem.” The average American receives about 620 mrem (millirem, or thousandths of a rem) each year from natural background and man-made sources.

Very high levels of ionizing radiation, however, can cause genetic damage, illness, and death. Most of the knowledge of radiation health effects is mainly from cases where high doses of radiation were received over short periods of time. Adverse health effects from doses significantly higher than natural background but smaller than from documented cases of high exposures have been difficult to prove.

Chronic radiation doses occur when a person receives small doses of radiation over long time periods.

People who receive increased chronic doses may increase their risk of cancer, but no threshold or clear relationship has been definitively shown to exist. This “increased risk” adds very little to the average natural cancer death rate that people are susceptible to.

Three easy, effective ways to minimize your exposure to radiation at CHESS are:

  1. Minimize the time spent near radioactive materials or radiation-producing equipment
  2. Maximize the distance between yourself and radioactive materials or radiation-producing equipmen
  3. Incorporate proper shielding between yourself and radioactive materials or radiation-producing equipment

Federal and New York State guidelines have set the annual occupational dose limit for individuals working in potential radiation environments to 5,000 mrem, not including background radiation. CLASSE and CHESS have a goal of staying below an annual dose limit of 100 mrem above background, the same as set by Federal and NY State regulations for the general public.

X-rays, gamma rays, and high energy electrons are produced in this laboratory. They are all examples of ionizing radiation, and therefore have the potential to damage living tissue. To control exposure, CHESS follows the ALARA Principles: Keep doses As Low As Reasonably Achievable.

Exposure to ionizing radiation is controlled in several ways:

  • Shielding: Extensive shielding (composed of concrete, iron, lead sheets and bricks) encloses all of the experimental areas. Permanent shielding should never be modified, moved, or tampered with. Contact the CHESS Operator if you need to work above the shielding wall (8 feet or more above floor level).
  • Safety Interlocks: CHESS and CESR have a comprehensive, redundant, fail-safe system of interlocks. If a light beam interlock is broken by a person entering an area that could potentially have high radiation, the radiation producing equipment in that area is immediately powered off, ceasing production of radiation.
  • Radiation Monitors: Radiation monitors are located throughout the CHESS area. The radiation monitors are interlocked to CESR; if these monitors measure radiation above 2 mrem/hr CESR will automatically be turned off.
  • Signage and barricades indicating of areas that may potentially have radiation
  • Search and Secure Hutch Procedure: Procedure for locking an experimental room, or “hutch,” to allow x-rays into the room (see later section about specific hutch securing procedure).
  • Radiation Badges worn by staff and users to record individual exposures. Note: 95% of badges issued at CHESS accumulate no measurable dose, and 99.5% show less than 25 mrem for an annual dose. Recorded doses for CHESS users are usually below 1 mrem
  • Safety Committee Approval: Any new radiation sources (including lasers) must be approved by the CHESS and CLASSE Safety Committees and Cornell Environmental Health and Safety before arriving at Wilson Lab.

Radiation Badges

All users and personnel must wear a radiation badge when entering a controlled area. Controlled areas are clearly marked by signs and in CHESS include CHESS East (D1, F1, F2, F3 stations), CHESS West (A1, A2, B1, C1 stations) and G-line (G1, G2, G3 stations), as well as room 180. Radiation badges measure radiation exposure; they do not protect from radiation exposure. User badges are sent out monthly for processing. Contact the CHESS User Office during your visit if you would like to obtain the reading from your radiation badge.

Example of signage in controlled areas
Example of signage in controlled areas

Radiation badges should be clipped on an article of clothing that will not be removed while in the lab (i.e. not a jacket or sweatshirt that you may take off). Badges should be worn between the waist and neck.

Badges should only be worn while inside Wilson Lab. When leaving the building, place your badge on the badge rack located in CHESS Ops. Remember to turn-in your badge to the CHESS Operator when your beamtime is complete.

Report any badge mishaps to the CHESS Operator immediately. Mishaps can include but are not limited to: losing your badge; accidentally wearing a badge that was assigned to someone else; forgetting to turn your badge in at the end of your beamtime; having your badge fall off and get locked in a hutch. 

Pregnant Users/Visitors

The human embryo/fetus has rapidly dividing cells and is highly sensitive to radiation, especially in the first 16 weeks of pregnancy. Potential health effects depend on the level of exposure, how long the exposure was, as well as the gestational age.

Women who are or may be pregnant may wish to learn more information about radiation and understand the extra precautions that are available. CLASSE offers confidential counseling services for any woman who is concerned about radiation exposure, usually completed by the CHESS Safety Officer or CLASSE Safety Director. If advance notice is given, counseling may be provided by a qualified female staff member from Cornell Environmental Health and Safety.

  • Topics for discussion and services involved in counseling include (but are not limited to):
  • Potential effects of radiation on a developing fetus
  • Radiation survey of the individual’s work area
  • Issuance of a fetal badge (includes 3 badges: a control badge which is stored away from any radiation sources; a whole-body badge which should be worn between the neck and waist; and a fetal monitoring badge which is placed over the abdomen, over or underneath clothing.)
  • Issuance of a dosimeter that will provide real-time readings

Note that it is not required for anyone to declare a pregnancy or notify CHESS of a potential or confirmed pregnancy. Many measures are used to control radiation exposure for all users, visitors, and employees at Wilson Lab. However, if there is concern about radiation particularly with a pregnancy, know that there are extra measures that can be taken if desired, and confidentiality will be respected.

General Safety in Wilson Lab

Emergency Situations and Injuries

Call 911 for any situation that requires immediate police, fire, or medical responses to preserve life or property; calling from a Wilson Lab phone will connect you with the Cornell Police Dispatcher. From a cellphone, call (607) 255-1111 to reach the Cornell Police Dispatcher. Dialing 911 from a cell phone will connect you with the county 911 dispatch.

There are also yellow emergency call-boxes located throughout the lab that can be used as intercoms to contact Cornell Police.

In any emergency situation, contact the CHESS Operator as soon as you can safely do so. 

Emergency call box
Emergency call box to contact Cornell Police


If you see a fire, pull a fire alarm switch and leave the building using the nearest safe exit. Do not use elevators during a fire alarm.

Follow these guidelines to help prevent the outbreak of fire in the CHESS Facility:

  • Know the flammability of the materials you are working with and take appropriate precautions.
  • Do not used frayed electrical cords and do not overload circuits
  • Do not smoke in Wilson Lab or any other buildings on Cornell Campus (Cornell Policy)
  • STOP, DROP, and ROLL if your clothes catch fire
  • Do not attempt to use a fire extinguisher unless you are trained to operate one



You must report all injuries, no matter how small, to the CHESS Operator. The Operator will assist in getting help, if needed. First Aid is available from Cornell Emergency Medical Technicians at the scene of the accident (at no charge, and with no paperwork). Minor injuries may be treated at the Gannet Clinic on campus. Major injuries will be treated at Cayuga Medical Center. Note that Cornell Police, Cornell Emergency Medical Services, and Fire Department Personnel may not provide transportation away from the scene; a private ambulance must be called. Emergency health care beyond First Aid is your financial responsibility. Please bring your insurance or HMO card with you when visiting CHESS.


PPE stands for “Personal Protective Equipment”. The most basic PPE that all individuals in the lab must wear are closed toe shoes. Sandals, flip flops, open-toe, and open-back shoes are not permitted. Steel-toe shoes are recommended when working with heavy equipment.

Safety glasses with side shields or wrap-around sides must be worn when in the machine shop, chemical labs, and glovebox room. Glasses are located just outside the doors to all of these rooms. Note that additional PPE may be required in the chemical rooms depending on the materials being handled.

When working with chemicals or cryogens, long pants or a lab coat are required. A face shield and thick cryogenic gloves are required when working with liquid nitrogen.

CHESS has a limited number of basic personal protective equipment available for loan such as: lab coats, face shields, safety glasses, nitrile gloves, cryogenic gloves, and chemical aprons. 

Alarms and Noises to be Aware of

  • Fire Alarm
    • CHESS Fire Alarms are characterized by a loud, pulsing buzzer accompanied by flashing lights above each fire alarm pull. If the fire alarms are active, you MUST leave the area immediately and proceed to the nearest exit. Wait outside the building for further instructions.
  • Overhead Crane Operation Alert
    • An intermittent, localized alarm accompanies any use of the overhead crane in the facility. If you hear this sound, look up to make sure you are not directly beneath the crane. Hard hats are required any time you are in the general area where the crane is being used.


Lead is commonly used at CHESS (mostly in the form of large bricks) as radiation shielding in many of the walls. Additionally, lead sheets and tape may be found attached to some detectors and shielding equipment in the hutches.

  • Lead can be harmful to humans when ingested or inhaled (or, to a lesser extent, absorbed through the skin), and can be particularly harmful to the neurological development of children. To protect individuals from being exposed to and coming into contact with lead, CHESS follows the procedures below:
  • All research samples that have lead containing compounds must receive prior approval for use by the CHESS Safety Committee.
  • All permanently installed lead must be covered whenever possible and practical. Methods of covering lead can include painting, aluminum sheeting or foil, or plastic sheeting. Kapton tape may be used to cover lead that is being used as shielding close to detectors.
  • Gloves should be worn when handling lead bricks, sheeting, or tape. CHESS has several pairs of “lead use only” gloves available. Thoroughly wash hands after handling lead (even when using gloves)
  • Do not modify or move any permanent shielding at CHESS.
  • Do not drill, mill, or saw lead for any purpose. If there is a need to cut or modify small pieces of lead used for temporary shielding for a sample or detector, see the CHESS Operator. Specially designated hand tools for lead use only must be used.
  • All lead shielding that has been formed or fit to a specific detector or piece of equipment should be saved and stored when not in use. The storage container should be marked “Lead shielding for reuse” and labeled with the equipment the lead was formed for. See the CHESS Operator for lead storage.
  • All leftover scrap pieces of lead that are not suitable for reuse, including lead tape, should be put in the red bucket labeled “Lead for Recycling” in the CHESS Ops area. Never put lead scraps in the trash. If very small pieces of lead need to be discarded, there is a vacuum dedicated to lead use only. See the CHESS Operator for assistance.
  • Don’t leave unused lead lying around. All lead that is not currently being used should be properly stored, or discarded.


Beryllium is a silver-gray metal that has been produced for various industrial uses since the late 1950’s. Inhalation of beryllium particles or beryllium oxide can cause a serious illness called Chronic Beryllium Disease, or CBD, in certain people. CBD is an irreversible and sometimes fatal scarring of the lungs. Only certain people are susceptible to CBD, and susceptibility cannot be determined without an exposure to beryllium. CHESS aims to minimize all contact with and exposure to beryllium.

Beryllium may be found at CHESS in the following applications:

  • X-ray transparent containers, such as part of a sample holder
  • X-ray windows on detectors or beamline components
  • Ceramics used in electronics devices and other equipment
  • High heatload components

These items present little risk of inhalation as long as they are not broken and no beryllium oxide is allowed to form. Notify the CHESS Operator of any broken or oxidized beryllium-containing articles.

Any equipment containing beryllium components must have prior approval from the CHESS Safety Committee before being brought to CHESS.

Any equipment containing beryllium will have a yellow and red sticker with a beryllium warning label on it. Always wear nitrile gloves when handling components containing beryllium. 

Electrical Safety

Any electrical equipment brought to the lab from another institution must be approved by the CHESS Safety Committee. Any power supply capable of 50 volts or higher must be enclosed and lock/tag/verify (LTV), also known as “lockout/tagout,” procedures must be followed when it is being worked on.

LTV is a system used to prevent equipment from being powered on when someone is working on it. If you observe a piece of equipment or machinery that has been locked out, do not attempt to start, energize, or use that equipment. Locks are also accompanied by red and white signs. See the CHESS Operator if you have a question about equipment that is locked out.

Compressed Gases

Compressed gases are stored in various locations throughout the CHESS facility. Always consult the CHESS Operator or other qualified personnel if your work requires compressed gases, or for modification of gas hook-ups in your work area. Follow the rules below when working with compressed gases:

  • Cylinders must ALWAYS be capped when being transported on a cart. Carts are only for transporting cylinders – not for holding gas cylinders for long-term use.
  • Cylinders must be securely anchored to walls or another fixed object to prevent tipping over.
  • Do not tamper with any safety device on a cylinder, and do not modify or lubricate any cylinder valve.
  • Do not attempt to move a compressed gas cylinder without notifying the CHESS Operator.
  • CHESS regularly stocks cylinders of nitrogen and helium gas. If you need any other compressed gas for your experiment, please notify the Staff Scientist or the CHESS Safety Committee (chess-safety@cornell.edubeforeyour scheduled beam time. Some specialty gases take several weeks to be delivered.


Liquid nitrogen (LN2) is available at CHESS.

There are three main risks when working with cryogens such as liquid nitrogen:

  1. Burns: The low temperatures associated with LN2 can cause cryogenic burns if LN2 comes in contact with your skin or eyes. Always wear a face shield and cryogenic gloves when working with LN2. Notify the CHESS Operator immediately if there is any spillage or skin contact with LN2.
  2. Asphyxiation: As nitrogen is released into the atmosphere (from a LN2 spill or from evaporating), it displaces oxygen in the air. This oxygen deficiency may lead to light-headedness, impairment of judgement, or asphyxiation. To avoid an oxygen-deficient atmosphere, always work with as small amount of LN2 as possible, and work in a well-ventilated area. The A1, F1, G1 and G3 hutches, where LN2 is frequently used, are equipped with Oxygen Sensors that will give an audible alarm if the oxygen concentration in the air drops below 20%. If an oxygen sensor does go off in a hutch, leave the area immediately and notify the CHESS Operator.
  3. Expansion Ratio: The liquid-to-gas expansion ratio of nitrogen is 1:694 at 20°C. Liquid nitrogen should only be stored and transported in appropriate cryogenic containers, and the containers should always have a vent. NEVER store LN2 in a tightly sealed container or a dewar without a vent – pressure could build up inside, causing an explosion hazard.
Liquid Nitrogen Filling Station at CHESS
Liquid Nitrogen Filling Station at CHESS


Bringing Hazardous Materials to CHESS

All submitted proposals are reviewed by the CHESS Safety Committee. The CHESS Safety Committee makes the decision to declare a proposal hazardous or non-hazardous. It is essential that users list ALL materials (concentrations and amounts, when applicable) and equipment they are bringing to CHESS, whether they are hazardous or not, so the safety committee can accurately and thoroughly review the proposed experiment, set-up, procedure, and materials. To ensure the safety of all individuals in the lab, it is critical that the safety committee has accurate information about what materials are being brought to the lab. Hazardous materials that are currently being used for experiments are listed on a white board in the CHESS Ops area.

Some examples of hazardous materials and equipment commonly used include (but are not limited to):

  • Lasers
  • Solvents and chemicals
  • Nanoparticles
  • Heavy atoms (generally hazardous if in solution, but non-hazardous if in crystal form)
  • Heating stages
  • Any electrical/home-made equipment brought to CHESS from another institution
  • Any equipment containing beryllium
  • Biohazards
  • Use of the glovebox
  • Any work requiring a fume hood

It is expected that anyone bringing hazardous materials to CHESS will provide the SDS for the materials, know how to safely work with the materials, and will provide a standard operating procedure for working with the materials if asked to do so. All proposals that are declared hazardous will be assigned a Safety Officer (a member of the CHESS Safety Committee) to check-in the group when they arrive at CHESS and check-out the group when they leave. The Safety Officer will ensure that all equipment is safe to use, will go over detailed safety information related to the experiment, and will arrange disposal of any hazardous waste.

Users are encouraged to bring the smallest amounts possible of hazardous materials to CHESS.

Contact the CHESS Safety Committee at with any questions regarding hazardous materials and safety concerns.


Occasionally hazardous biological materials are brought to CHESS. All biohazards must be declared to the CHESS Safety Committee a minimum of 4 weeks before beamtime to allow for thorough review.

Biohazards are separated into four safety classifications, from lowest hazard level to highest: BSL-1, BSL-2, BSL-3, and BSL-4. BSL-3 and BSL-4 materials are prohibited in CHESS.

More detailed safety information regarding work with biohazards will be provided to user groups as needed.

Safety Procedures in Hutches

The hutch, or end station, is the room where your experiment will be set up. Interlocked beam stops and/or shutters prevent x-rays and gamma-rays from entering an occupied hutch. The beam stops can be controlled from the station control panel. In order to ensure your safety, and the safety of all other CHESS Users and Personnel, there are procedures you must follow in order to secure your hutch and open the shutters/beamstops to allow x-ray beams to pass into the hutch.

To close the hutch and allow x-rays to enter the hutch, follow this general procedure:

  1. Search the hutch to make sure it is unoccupied. Look in the corners, underneath and behind equipment, and announce your intent to close the hutch.
  2. Press the Search Circuit button(s) (an example is pictured below). An alarm will sound and a red beacon will flash.
  3. Close the hutch door. Turn and remove the door key, which locks the door shut. If you do not get the door shut and locked before the alarm stops, you will have to press the Search Circuit button(s) again. 
    NOTE: Some stations have magnetic door locks and do not have keys. When securing hutches with magnetic door locks, skip step 4.
  4. Insert the hutch door key into the station control panel and turn it.
  5. Open the shutters by pressing the “open” buttons on the station control panel.
Search Circuit button located inside a hutch
Search Circuit button located inside a hutch.

The CHESS Operator and/or station scientist will demonstrate this procedure with all new users and give specific details for exactly how to complete this procedure at the specific hutch where you will be working.

If some part of the safety protocol for securing the hutch is not performed correctly, or if there is a problem with any part of the safety interlock system, the “open” buttons for the beamstops/shutters will not be enabled. See the CHESS Operator if you have difficulties securing the hutch or opening the beamstops/shutters.

Dump Buttons in Hutches

In the unlikely event that you find yourself locked inside of the hutch, press a CHESS Dump button immediately to close the shutters and beam stops. This will prevent any ionizing radiation from entering the hutch, as well as sound an alarm that will notify the CHESS Operator. Each hutch has multiple dump buttons located on the walls.

Support Rooms

Public Terminal Room

Located in room 315 on the third floor of Wilson Lab, the Public Terminal Room provides users with several Windows, Linux, and Macintosh machines to use as needed. MacCHESS Users have access to workstations for data processing in this room as well. Upon arrival users will be given a login ID and password for use in the public terminal room, as well as additional information about wireless access.

Machine Shop

Located just off of the CHESS Ops area is the CHESS Machine Shop. The Machine Shop is open Monday - Thursday 7:30am-4:00pm and Friday 7:30am-3:00pm. The shop contains a bandsaw, drill press, bench grinder, belt sander, CNC surface grinder, lathes, and milling machines. Users must receive training from the shop staff before using any tools in the shop.

Access to the shop is available after hours for users who have received proper training. If you anticipate utilizing the machine shop during your visit, we encourage you to do so during normal machine shop hours so you can receive expert help from the shop staff.

A variety of handtools are also available for use


CHESS Users have access to a stockroom where supplies and parts are available for purchase.

The stockroom is located in a modular trailer just outside of Wilson Lab. Examples of items sold in the stockroom include office supplies, chemical room supplies (but no chemicals), hose fittings and valves, vacuum KF fittings, screws, bolts, nuts, washers, etc.

See the CHESS Operator for assistance with purchases from the stockroom.

High Pressure Lab

The High Pressure Lab is located on the first floor of Wilson Lab and is used as a prep area for diamond anvil cell and high pressure experiments. This lab also has an oven capable of heating samples to 300C.

High Pressure Cryo-Cooling Room

High pressure cryo-cooling capabilities are available for some MacCHESS users. If you are interested in doing high pressure cryo-cooling, contact one of the MacCHESS staff members as this equipment requires specific training and is only suitable for certain experiments.

Chemistry Room

CHESS has two chemistry rooms (Main Chemistry Room and G-line Chemistry Room) available for users. If you plan on doing any work in the chemistry rooms or the fume hoods, you must notify the Safety Committee prior to your arrival so the space and work can be scheduled accordingly. Safety glasses are required in both chemistry rooms and can be found just outside the door of each room.

You must notify the CHESS Safety Committee of all chemicals and amounts that you will bring to CHESS. All chemicals must be clearly labeled with the full chemical name, group name, and date of arrival. If you plan on coming to CHESS regularly, you may leave small bottles of regularly used chemicals here, which should also be labeled with the date they were opened.

The chemistry rooms are shared spaces used by many different groups in the lab at the same time. Please clean up after yourself. Wash and clean any glassware or equipment that you use. Each chemistry room has containers for sharps (broken glass, pipette tips), regulated sharps (needles), and hazardous waste. All hazardous waste containers have forms attached to the bottle – you must write down each item you add to the hazardous waste bottle and the amount you added. Both chemistry rooms are also equipped with spill kits and SDS for the chemicals stored in that room.

Since the chemistry rooms are shared spaces, it is important to be aware of what other work is going on in the chemistry room. Acids may only be used in the Main Chemistry Room. Occasionally access to the chemistry room needs to be limited when particularly hazardous work is occurring. In these cases, a sign will be posted on the door to the chemistry room stating what work is being done and that no one should enter. Please be aware of signs and what work is going on around you in the chemistry room.

Main Chemistry Room

  • Available equipment includes hot plates, glassware, balance, oven, small sonicator, disposable plastic pipettes
  • 500mL wash bottles of acetone, isopropyl alcohol, methanol, and ethanol available
  • Acids may be used in the main chemistry room (with prior approval from the CHESS Safety Committee)

G-line Chemistry Room

  • Available equipment includes hot plates, balance, centrifuge
  • Milli-Q Integral System capable of delivering bacteria-free water and ultrapure water
  • No acids are allowed in the G-line chemistry room
  • BioSAXS prep area is also located in the G-line chemistry room

Cold Room

A cold room kept at 4C can be used for sample preparation and storage of samples.

A smaller -80C freezer is also available for sample storage.

Dry ice is available upon request. Please notify the CHESS User Office or the CHESS Safety Committee prior to your scheduled beamtime if your experiment requires dry ice.


CHESS has a MBRAUN LABmaster SP glovebox that may be scheduled for use. The glovebox is an oxygen and moisture-free, nitrogen environment. Users must request to use the glovebox before arriving for beamtime, as use needs to be approved by the CHESS Safety Committee. In-person training is required before using the glovebox. Contact the Safety Committee if you are interested in using the glovebox for an upcoming experiment.


User Lounge

The user lounge can be found on the first floor of Wilson Lab and is equipped with a refrigerator, microwave, coffee maker, and couch for your use. Plastic bins are available for food storage in the lounge. Please be sure to clean up after yourself and remove all of your food at the end of your beamtime. A restroom with a shower is located next to the user lounge.


Once you have read all of the above information, you must take the Online User Exam and score 100% before you can receive a radiation badge and begin your experiment.