The Advanced Photon Source
a U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science User Facility

Getting Ready For Your Experiment

Getting beamtime

All Magnetic Materials (MM) beamlines, namely 4-ID-D, 6-ID-B,C, 6-ID-D or 29-ID-C,D, allocate 80% of their beamtime to outside users. If you would like to perform an experiment on any of the MM beamlines:

  • Please submit a general user proposal through the APS users office. For more information on the proposal submission process, please visit the APS General User page. Also, feel free to contact any of our staff concerning questions you might have concerning the beamline capabilities.
  • After submission beamline proposals are assigned a number and evaluated by a peer review panel made up of local APS staff and outside experts. Proposals are then allocated beamtime based on these scores.
  • Users will be contacted by a staff person if beamtime has been allocated for their proposed experiments.
Experiment Safety Assessment Form (ESAF)

Important ESAF reminders:

  1. ESAFs must be submitted at least 3 weeks in advance of the start of an experiment.
  2. Late submissions (< 15 days) will be subject to automatic rejection and site access denial. 
  3. ESAFs that contain experimenters that do not have access approval will not be approved.  This includes remote access pending completion of training courses.
  4. At the completion of the programming changes currently underway, users without an approved access status will be prohibited from being added to an ESAF.  
Beamtime checklist

At least 2 months before:

  • Register / Update your registration with the APS User Office: User Registration. This is required for ON-SITE and REMOTE users.
  • Establish a user account to cover incidental expenses (e.g. stockroom): Establish User Account.
  • Contact your staff support to review your experiment requirements: MM contact
  • Arrange samples shipment to the following address (see APS shipping guidelines):
               c/o MM Staff person
               Bldg 431-E (4-ID)
               Bldg 432-B (6-ID)
               Bldg 437-D (29-ID)

               Advanced Photon Source
               Argonne National Laboratory
               9700 South Cass Ave
               Lemont, IL 60439
  • Note that samples exposed to neutron beams, regardless of isotope content and activity, are treated by APS as radioactive and therefore required to meet special shipping/encapsulation guidelines.
At least 3 weeks before:
  • Complete an Experiment Safety Assessment Form: ESAF (for sector 29 see specific instruction here).
  • ESAFs must be submitted at least 3 weeks in advance of the start of an experiment. Late submissions (< 15 days) will be subject to automatic rejection and site access denial.
  • Log-in to the APS User Portal to make sure you have site access: APS User Portal / Home / User Site Access 
    Consult the Argonne Site Access website or contact the User Office for assistance:, 630-252-9090.
At least 3 days before:
  • On-site users only: Notify the APS of your arrival: APS user Portal / My Check-In; see above details for COVID rules and regulations.
  • On-site users only: Complete sector orientation: Sector orientation
  • On-site & remote: Complete all training: APS user Portal / My Trainings
  • Any last-minute samples? Add them to your ESAF and resubmit: APS user Portal / My ESAF
  • Contact your staff support to let them know when you will be arriving at the beamline: MM contact
Before coming

Access to the Argonne National Lab is extremely restricted: failure to check in and/or present appropriate documentation can lead to hours long wait and/or access denial; see above details in COVID rules and regulations:

  1. SITE ACCESS can only be granted to users identified as "onsite" users on a fully approved Experiment Safety Assessment Forms (ESAFs), or if a Gate Pass is requested and processed by the User Program Office. Visit the  My APS Portal to request a Gate Pass or email
    • The Argonne Information Center (AIC) hours are: 6:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. US CT, Monday through Friday. 
    • The APS User Office hours are 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. US CT, Monday through Friday.
  2. LATE ARRIVALS:  Users conducting experiments who have the potential of arriving after hours on weekdays, weekends, holidays, or during Laboratory shutdown periods must notify the APS User Program Office in advance by entering a Gate Pass request in My APS Portal or by sending an email to  apsuser@anl.govbefore 1:00 pm US Central Time on a given workday. A user badge or gate pass and a prox card (if needed) will be at the guard booth when the user arrives. This is necessary because the APS does not have staff after-hours to address these issues.
  3. Users who arrive at Argonne after hours without notifying the APS User Office in advance of arrival will be denied access.
  4. Tips: See User Access Myths Debunked for some common errors and how to avoid them.

Finally, please make sure to completed your trainings before coming to the beamline; this included Sector orientation. Note that any missing training might delay your experiment since no work (including mounting samples) will be allowed until all experimenters have completed their required training.

Upon arriving, make sure to stop by the APS user office during business hours (M-F, 8am-5pm) to get your badge activated for after hours building access.
Don't forget to contact your staff support to let them know ahead of time when you will be arriving to the beamline.