Before using any of IMUs microscopes, it is compulsory to attend a training session with an IMU staff member. Separate training sessions are required for each microscope and will be tailored to your experimental needs and level of experience.

Please follow this procedure to arrange a training session:

- New users must create an account on the PPMS booking system (

- External users must also complete the relevant charging form (available from IMU staff).

- Complete the Training Application Form (PPMS > Request > Microscopy Training Application Form).

- We will work with you to identify the most appropriate microscope(s) and technique(s).

- A member of IMU staff will be assigned to arrange a training session (typically within 2 weeks; and ~3 hour sessions).

- After the training you must pass the assessment (where applicable).

- You will be given booking permission (Novice, upgraded to Autonomous with sufficient experience).

You are welcome to request for assisted usage for any subsequent sessions if you need help, advice, a refresher or specific advanced training, we will be more than happy to help. Please arrange time in advance.

Users are never allowed to train other people. This is critical from a safety perspective.

Training and support is also available for our image processing and analysis software packages (e.g. Imaris, FIJI, Huygens). We encourage everyone to attend our Image Processing and Analysis with ImageJ/FIJI Course ( 



Booking of microscopes prior to use, through PPMS, is compulsory (

Each user is limited to 3 bookings per system per week within peak times (08:30-18:00 weekdays). Bookings exceeding these limits are subjected to cancellation. Bookings during evenings and weekends are unrestricted.

Each booking is limited to 3 hours during peak times, except on the following systems:
DeltaVision OMX
MetaSystems slide scanner
Olympus IX-83 Live-cell
Olympus High Content Screening (HCS)
Spinning Disk 3D-FRAP

If, for any reason, you need to cancel a booked session you must cancel the booking on PPMS. If it is at short notice, please inform IMU staff and the next user.

If you are swapping a session with a member of your lab, you must update the booking details. Do not make bookings on behalf of other people.

If a user has not shown up within the first 15 minutes of their booking it is considered forfeited and is free for anyone else to use.


Before your session:
Ensure that the equipment looks clean, undamaged and, if the system is off, that it has been switched off for the appropriate minimum time (refer to the instructions on the wall). Report any problems and accidental breakages to a member of IMU staff immediately. Follow the protocols pasted on the walls for switching on/off.

During your session:
Use your individual PPMS account to login to the systems. Never use anyone else’s account.

Ensure that objective lenses only come into contact with the correct immersion medium (air/water/oil/silicon) and only use reasonable amounts (1 drop of oil is usually sufficient).

You should not wear and PPE (laboratory gloves, lab-coats, etc.) when operating microscopes or computers to avoid any contamination. However, PPE should be worn when delivering live samples to the microscopes/incubators. IMU provide non-lab (food grade) gloves (located near the wooden sliding doors) that can be worn when operating the instruments. These gloves are not a form of protection from biological or chemical agents but for those that have expressed a desire to keep hands clean. Only non-lab (food-grade) gloves can be disposed of in IMU waste bins.

No food or drinks are allowed within IMU, and should not be disposed of in the bins in IMU.

Any live-specimens and wet lab work/equipment (e.g. gloves, pipettes, tips, Eppendorf & Falcon tubes, reagents, etc.) must be limited to the red trays situated at the microscopes. Importantly, at the end of your sessions, ensure the red tray is empty, clean and looking as good as new.
If you have any questions or problems during your session contact a member of IMU staff; contact details are in each of the microscope rooms.

At the end of your session:
Check the booking system and follow the specific instructions on the wall, as appropriate. Typically:
- If no one is booked within the next 2 hours shut down the whole system according to the protocol on the wall.
- If someone is booked in 1 hours time:
- Switch off the HBO lamp
- Switch off any solid state (DPSS or Diode) lasers
- Leave on any gas lasers on (Argon or HeNe)
- Log out of PPMS
- If someone is booked straight after you, leave the HBO lamp and all lasers running and log out of PPMS.

Clean all immersion lenses used as instructed during your training session. For oil immersion lenses:
1. Wipe away oil using a new piece of Whatman lens tissue (never Kim Wipes). 
2. Use a second piece with 100% ethanol.
3. Finally use a 3rd piece to wipe away any residue.

Laboratory waste of any sort (including used lab gloves) must be removed from IMU when you leave and disposed of back in your own lab biohazard bins.

Move files onto the IMBLAB network drive (see instructions on the wall) or onto Google Drive/DropBox. Do not use your personal USB drive or portable HDDs on our computers (high risk of malicious software). The D-drive is for temporary storage - if there is a shortage of space on a system, data older than 1 month may be deleted without notice. Users are responsible for their own data and no backups are made by IMU. 

Please leave the area clean and tidy.

Last user of the day:
The last user of the day is responsible for making sure the system has been properly shut down. If you are the last user and you cancel your booking you must inform the user prior to you or contact IMU staff.



We operate a ‘3 strikes and you’re out’ policy for breaking the rules (we are obliged to inform the HSE officer when the issue is related to safety):

1st offence – you will be warned and reminded of the rules.

2nd offence – you will receive a second warning and your PI will be informed.

3rd offence – you will be banned from using the microscopes for up to 2 weeks.


If you use the IMU microscopes and/or have been trained or assisted by IMU staff in your research then they and IMU should be appropriately acknowledged in your publications and presentations.

If you wish to collaborate with a member of IMU staff on a particular project then potential authorship should be discussed and agreed on before undertaking the work. A project outline, describing the work to be done and the contributions expected, should be produced and agreed on at the start of any collaborative project.