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

Getting Ready For Your Experiment

COVID related rules and regulations
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Based on the Community Level above, please adhere to the corresponding COVID controls here
Below are highlights users should be aware of.  


Changes that became effective on August 24, regardless of CDC community transmission level, are:  

  1. Users and visitors are no longer required to provide proof of vaccination, or a negative COVID-19 test to enter the Argonne site.
  2. Social distancing is optional on the Argonne site, no matter the community transmission level.
  3. The wearable proximity device program will be discontinued.
  4. Voluntary diagnostic testing remains available at Argonne Health and Wellness only while onsite.
  5. Limits on the number of people attending meetings and gatherings onsite have been lifted.
  6. The APS will no longer cap the number of onsite users per Experiment Safety Assessment Form (ESAF).


Procedures that REMAIN in effect are: 

  1. Users should not come to Argonne or the APS if they are not feeling well or exhibit symptoms consistent with COVID-19, regardless of vaccination status. If you become ill while at Argonne, stay away from others and immediately call the COVID-19 Question Line at 630-252-2555 for guidance on isolation and restriction requirements.
  2. Requirements for face coverings will remain tied to community transmission levels. Face coverings will only be required when the community level for DuPage County is high (orange). Please check the latest information on the Users Office website.
  3. 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.
  4. NEW RULE - 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.


Important ESAF reminders: 

  1. 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. 
  2. ESAFs that contain experimenters that do not have access approval will not be approved.    
  3. 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

The Argonne Guest House is now accepting reservations for arrivals on May 16, 2022 or after.

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: (ARPES), (RSXS) or (XAS); see details below.
  • Arrange samples shipment to the following address (see APS shipping guidelines):
               Jessica McChesney  / Fanny Rodolakis / John Freeland
               Argonne National Laboratory
               9700 South Cass Ave
               Bldg 437-D
               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; please see 29-ID 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 
    Contact the User Office for assistance:, 630-252-9090.
At least 3 days before:
Sample preparation

You can request sample holders to be shipped to your home institution ahead of time; contact beamline staff and provide a FedEx number.

ARPES: Please contact staff ASAP to discuss sample preparation. At the moment, our chamber only offers the following capabilities:

  • in-vacuum annealing up to 800 C
  • in-vacuum cleaving (cleaving post knocked down using in-vacuum magnetic wobble stick)
  • a vacuum suit case can be used if your experiment requires more sophisticated surface preparation. This needs to be arranged with staff well ahead of time and requires separate ESAF and experimental plan.
  • see here for basic sample mounting instructions. 

RSXS: The current set-up uses a kappa geometry with a horizontal scattering plane. Note that a very limited number of diffraction peaks can be accessed in the soft x-ray range (E<3keV). This coupled with the fact that conversion to the standard 4-C nomenclature (phi, chi, theta and 2theta) is non-intuitive makes experimental planning crucial. Please consider pre-aligning your sample to speed-up alignment, and contact staff if to make sure the q-range you want to study is accessible. 

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.

Finally, please make sure to completed your trainings before coming to the beamline; this included Sector 29 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.