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

Getting Ready For Your Experiment

Beamtime checklist
At least 2 months before: At least 2 weeks before:
  • Complete an Experiment Safety Assment Form: ESAF; please see 29-ID specific instruction below
  • 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.

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. 

Sample cooling

LHe: Both endstations (RSXS and ARPES) are equipped with open cycle cryostats. Liquid He cost is the users' responsibility:

  • Please contact the User Account Specialist Lauren Ambrose (, 630-252-1244) to set-up an account with the APS User Office to process the charges. This can take up to 4 weeks so please plan ahead!
  • Once your account has been set-up, contact beamline staff to proceed with the order: order must be placed before 11:00 AM two days prior to the beginning of your experiment; there are no delivery during the weekend.

Proper cooling is critical for the success of soft x-ray ARPES experiment because of the destructive effect of electron-phonon scattering on the coherent ARPES signal (see If you are unsure about the temperature required to perform ARPES measurement on your samples, we recommend setting-up an account anyway, in case LHe turns out to be necessary

LN2: Liquid Nitrogen is provided free of charge.

ESAF instructions

The experimental safety assessment form (ESAF) purpose is to identify the hazards associated to your experiment; it must be submitted at least 2 weeks before your experiment.

  • All experimenters coming to Argonne must be listed as such on the ESAF. Those who aren't coming must be listed as "off-site”.
  • Any samples or equipment that you are considering bringing to the laboratory must be included!
  • Note that samples exposed to neutron beams, regardless of isotope content and activity, are treated by APS as radioactive and therefore require to meet special shipping/encapsulation guidelines.

Make sure to review all the questions below the material information table, and check “Yes” in the appropriate boxes. If you will be mounting your samples at the beamline, reply "yes" to the question:
          "Will you require to use ​​beamline laboratory facilities to prepare samples or perform other work"

In the “Lab Use” tab, please include the following statement:

We will use the Sector 29 laminar flow room ("clean room") to prepare samples. Samples will be handled with gloves and tweezers. In addition, this work may involve UHV cleaning with incidental quantities of ethanol and acetone. Sample will be mounted to the sample holders using silver epoxy, silver paste or Torr Seal; the Sector 29 hot plate may be used for curing. Alternatively, samples will be secured to the sample plate by spot-welding Ta clips.

There are no chemical fume hood or glove box available at the beamline. If you need one to prepare your sample, please contact beamline staff at least 3 weeks ahead of your experiment so we can arrange with another sector.

Temperature measurements:  In the “Description” Tab, please include the following statement(s) if relevant to your experiment:

After loading samples in the chamber, we will perform an in-vacuum annealing at (specify your temperature here - max T = 800C).

Liquid nitrogen or liquid helium may be used for measurements at cryogenic temperatures; appropriate PPE will be used for handling cryogenic equipment (cryo gloves, face shield, safety glasses, cryo apron).

Before coming

If you don't have a user badge or if your user badge has expired, please make sure to notify the user office of your arrival by checking-in on the APS User Portal; by doing so, a gate pass will be requested on your behalf. Remember to bring your ID and immigration documents (even if you have a badge).

Access to the Argonne National Lab is extremely restricted: failure to check in and/or present appropriate documentation can lead to hours long wait or even access denial.
If you are taking a cab from the airport, make sure to use one of the companies listed by the user office.

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.
Don't forget to contact your staff support to let them know ahead of time when you will be arriving to the beamline.