How to become a certified SEM user?   To become a "certified" SEM user, the user must go through two mandatory training steps: (Step-1) two hours of basic SEM training (during which the principle and basic operation of our SEM will be discussed), and (Step-2) three to five 1-hour sessions of hands-on practice training until we are convinced that the user can operate the machine safely and responsibly.  The cost for Step-1 training is $160, and that for Step-2 is $80/h.  After certification, the cost for certified SEM user is $40/h. 


All "certified" users will need to be re-certified (i.e. repeat Step-2 at $80/h) if he/she has not used the SEM for a minimum of 2 hours every month.


Due to the cost and time involved, we recommend certification only to frequent user and not occasional user of the SEM.  If the user only has a few samples to run once every 4 months, then it would be more cost-effective to the user to run this under Operator Service (at $80/h). 


Making a reservation on a tool?   Upon certification, the user will be given instruction on how to make reservation on the tool using google calendar. 


Cancellation policy   We require at least 2 working days to cancel the reserved time slot, so that other user will have enough time to book the free-up time slots.  Do not cancel your reservation a few minutes or a few hours before the reserved time.  This is unacceptable and is inconsiderate to other users.  We are monitoring the reservation calendars at all time.  Any user caught not respecting the cancellation rule will have their booking privilege terminated permanently.


Walk-in   If you are unsure about whether your samples will be ready for the reserved time, try a "walk-in".  Check the calendar to see if the machine is free at the time.  If the machine is free, then you can walk in and use the tool until the next reserved time slot.  (You can register your booking on the calendar once you are in the lab and confirm that the tool is indeed free.)  In this way, you are not affecting other users.


What is WATLab?   As a result of the funding from the Government of Canada and the Province of Ontario in the first CFI competition in 1999, we managed to establish an open-access, multi-user materials research and characterization facility dedicated for multi-mission research by academic and industrial users in Ontario and Canada.  The initial funding enabled us to acquire two unique tools: a VG ESCALab 250 and a LEO FE-SEM.  With enormous and continued support from local colleagues and elsewhere, we were able to secure further CFI funding in subsequent competitions.  WATLab has since evolved into one of the best materials research centres in North America, with a complete, unique set of tools second to none for advanced materials and nanoscience research.

Who is supporting WATLab?   Contrary to what WATLab may appear, WATLab is a facility run by my own group, and is not supported by local administrations.  Despite the impact of WATLab in facilitating advanced research and training at the University of Waterloo, we are really running on a shoestring budget and our financial security is precarious at best.  Despite this, we continue to do what we can to  provide on-campus service and support to all departments on a "partial" cost recovery basis.  We will assist other research groups in their research objectives to take advantage of this unique world-class facility for advanced research.