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FAQs - General

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Please refer to other FAQs through the navigation links.


  1. How do I obtain Building/Lab Access?
    • Please contact the Lab manager, he/she will coordinate with the building manager to grant you access to building and lab, which include after-hour and weekend access.
  2. Whom should I contact for Lab training?
    • Training on equipment or facilities is performed through our staff. You will find detailed instructions for each on the respective equipment website. Make sure that you follow all instructions in order.
  3. I am already an authorized user at the Soft & Hybrid Materials Facility (SMF). Can I access other tools under SNC and/or SNL? 
    • Yes, you may get trained and use any of the tools and resource listed under the SNSF umbrella organization.
  4. Internal Users: How do I replace, add, reactivate, or extend the PTA on file for my account?
    • Fill out the SNSF - Access Authorization Form and select the appropriate option. Wait for approval after submitting the form. You will receive an email when your PTA on file has been updated.


  1. Does it matter if there is a discrepancy between reserved and used times?
    • Yes. SNSF expects a match between reserved time and actual used time. This includes start/end time, duration and user among others. 
    • As noted on the rate sheet, SNSF reserves the right to charge for reserved time if cancelled less than 24 hours in advance.
  2. I am working with another person in my group. What should I consider when it comes to reserving, etc.?
    • If both are trained and you stack reservations, make sure to enable/disable according to the reservation. In most cases the 2nd reservation can just enable the tool over the 1st enable. SNSF expects the reservation holder to be the primary operator on the instrument. 
  3. I made a reservation that I can't use but I know that a group member could use it. Can I just swap it to the other member?
    • No. The reservation needs to be released according to policies. However, feel free to also let your fellow group members know that a time slot has been released.
  4. The tool is so busy, so I am grabbing slots hoping that I'll be ready. Is that OK?
    • This can be OK. However, consider that booking slots "just-in-case" will add to the pressure on the tool reservation system and might result in more people adding reservations, causing further issues for the larger community to get access to the instrument. If you are not 100% ready yet for your reservation, make sure to be ready with enough time so that there aren't cancellations that will result in idle tools.
  5. I am releasing a reservation since I am grabbing another slot that opened up. Will I still get charged for the released spot?
    • If you are releasing a slot within 24 hours of your reserved time, SNSF still reserves the right to charge for your released time.
  6. I just made a reservation for a slot within 24 hours but realized that I need to cancel. Will I be charged?
    • We like to see that community members are able to jump in on open slots and understand that there are reasons to still cancel. While you might get a semi-automatic email about such a late cancellation, we generally waive a late cancellation fee if the reservation and cancellation occurs within 1 hour. Just email us when you receive the notification. 
  7. The instrument malfunctioned during my usage. Will I still get charged?
    • If you encounter an instrument malfunction, communicate with the appropriate staff contact. Staff might be available to troubleshoot with you before your reservation ends. Staff is also able to adjust instrument charges if warranted. 
  8. I am releasing a reservation since a prior process didn't work out. Will I still get charged?
    • Yes. SNSF is not guaranteeing uptime and performance of instruments. 
  9. An instrument has been down for some time and I can't do my research. What can I do?
    • Please consult with the relevant staff about updates. 
    • We try hard to keep the instruments available to our research community. Many factors can impact the availability of instruments, including age of instrument, 3rd party service contracts, parts and supplies availability, utilities interruptions, staffing availability, etc. A lot of instruments are complex to troubleshoot and a lot of variables need to be considered. Please remember that we are in a research environment with very limited resources to keep the lights on. Please feel free to escalate any issues and we always welcome suggestions that could improve our operations in support of the growing research community.
  10. I enabled late on the tool. Would I get charged for unused reserved time?
    • SNSF expects a match between reserved and used time. There is no grace period for enabling a tool. You are expected to be ready for your usage and enable the tool promptly. If you require additional steps to be completed beforehand, make sure that you schedule enough time to finish these steps.
  11. I was late for my reservation and someone else is now using the instrument. What can I do?
    • If you are late to your reservation, other users have the right to jump in if they are ready. You may still get charged for your whole reserved time. Please note that there is generally no grace period at SNSF.
  12. I am releasing a reservation since I am grabbing another slot that opened up. Will I still get charged for the released spot?
    • If you are releasing a slot within 24 hours of your reserved time, SNSF still reserves the right to charge for your released time.
  13. I got charged for reserved time that I didn't use and don't agree with this. What can I do?
    • Please make sure that you have read through and understand all policies and FAQs relating to your reservation and usage. In case you still believe that you were unfairly charged, please write to us at and provide reasons for your disagreement. SNSF leadership will review requests and provide a decision typically within 3 business days.