FAQs - Finding Tools and Services

How do I know what technique I need to use for my analysis?

Each user facility has a detailed website of capabilities and tools available for the research community’s use.  Quick links to the user facilities that utilize RIMS can be found under the User Research Facilities option on the dark blue menu bar on the www.rims.psu.edu web site.  Inquiries about tools and techniques available can also be sent by e-mail directly to the facilities management, administrative contact, or technical staff members for whom contact information is available on the respective facility web sites.

How do I know which technical staff member to contact about my analytical/fabrication needs?

Some of the user facility web sites include a description on their technical staff personnel lists of what areas staff members have expertise in or are responsible for in that respective user facility.  If you consult the facility web site and are still unsure of which technical staff member you should contact, you can contact the facility manager or administrative contact to be directed to the appropriate technical staff person based on your needs.  Contact information for facility managers and administrative contacts is available at www.rims.psu.edu/facilities/index.asp.

What type of training is required for me to use instrumentation/tools myself?

Training requirements vary across the different user facilities and also for each individual tool or piece of equipment within each user facility.  The technical staff person in charge of the tool or equipment is the best point of contact to learn what type of training is required, if there will be a training charge, and what the training includes.  After you have completed training on a particular tool/piece of equipment, the technical staff member who trained you will add you as an authorized user in RIMS to be able to reserve and use that particular tool/piece of equipment.

Will a technical staff member do my analysis/fabrication for me?

As a service of the various user facilities, a technical staff member can, indeed, be paid the technical staff assistance hourly rate, to do work for a PI or user.  In most cases, internal users are encouraged to get trained and use the instrumentation and facilities themselves as part of their college educational/research experience.  In some areas, it is even possible for external users to complete paperwork that allows them to come into the facilities to do their own work.  In a few instances, tool/equipment usage is limited to technical staff only where all work is done by the staff members.  Inquiries about doing work yourself versus paying to have the work done for you can be directed to the respective technical staff member in charge of the technique or area needed for your research project.