Information & regulations



  • Charges for the use of IMCES instruments can be financed as part of the cost for consumables from third party sources. This is possible for example by funding through DFG (any funding scheme available), BMBF or EU. Please apply within your grant application for the total hours of instrument usage. The individual hourly cost is available from the IMCES website - Prices.
  • You can find more information on the DFG web page.

Instrument Use and Data analysis:

  • Except for pre-agreed collaborations, after an initial training on an IMCES instrument the user is entirely responsible for the measure of their sample and the quality of the data produced.
  • IMCES staff are available for consultation and assistance.


  • Please note that if you have used any of the IMCES instruments or services for your publication, you are expected to mention IMCES in the Acknowledgements and inform IMCES about your publication. This is vital for the continued operation of IMCES since the number of publications and acknowledgements form part of the evaluation process for the imaging facility.
  • Co-authorship on publication or patents is only required in cases of substantial scientific input by a member of the IMCES staff and only where agreed in advance.

IMCES Usage Policies Rules and Regulations


  • The usage rules of IMCES are in accordance with the DFG specifications for "Gerätezentren" published 08/2020.

 IMCES Access:

  • The use of IMCES equipment after prior consultation and training is in principle openly accessible to all working groups of the Universitätsklinikum Essen and the Universität Duisburg-Essen.
  • Access is also available to research groups outside of the university in the case of sufficient spare instrument capacity.
  • Access to all IMCES equipment at the MFZ site is via an electronic transponder.
    • Access will be blocked in cases where IMCES user rules are breached or in case of instrument misuse.
  • The imaging facility is open 24 hours/7 days a week, but only for trained and experienced users.
    • IMCES staff are generally available for user support between Monday - Friday from 8:00 - 17:00.
    • It is forbidden to work alone in laboratories outside of the normal working time Monday - Friday from 9:00 - 17:00.

 Instrument Usage Training and Fees:

  • All IMCES instruments are available for all users.
  • Most IMCES instruments require a user license. This is a one-time fee for each instrument and includes support for the entire user period, e.g. information through mailing list, use of online reservation system, and trouble-shooting without any additional charges.
  • Most lMCES instruments are charged by the hour, the fees are shown here.
  • For all IMCES instruments, there is a compulsory initial training given by an IMCES staff member which qualifies you for the user license to that instrument.
    • The total fee for the training session is calculated according to the hourly training fee for the IMCES staff member plus the hourly fee for the instrument plus a charge for the user license.
    • The charge for the user license is currently set to zero, however this may change at a future date depending on instrument usage.
    • You should try to bring your own samples to the training session.
    • If there is a user guide, print and read it, and take it with you when you come to the training.
  • After training the user is given access to the online scheduling system, and can freely reserve instrument time as required.
    • The user is responsible for taking all measurements and the quality of the data produced.

Instrument Reservations and Billing:

  • For all instruments maintained by IMCES, the online Scheduler reservation system is used. Even if you are not a registered user of the Scheduler, you can look at the reservations made for each instrument.
  • Instrument billing will be made according to the hours reserved on the Scheduler, no matter whether the system was actually used or not, thus make sure to reserve only the minimum time required.
    • Reservations can be cancelled up to 2 hours prior to the reserved time.
    • Use of any IMCES microscope without a reservation is prohibited.
    • IMCES will occasionally check room entrance and/or computer log in/out times. If they do not match with the time reserved, there will be a double fee for the time the instrument was used without a reservation.
  • IMCES staff must be informed of any cancellation after the 2hr cancellation period, either directly or via an email to imces-support.
    • The user will still be charged for the time the instrument was scheduled to be used.
    • The user will be charged a double fee in cases of no-show without informed cancellation.
  • Billing for instrument usage will take place quaterly and a fully itemized invoice for instrument usage will be sent every month to the relevant IMCES account holders.
  • The money collected via instrument usage and training fees is used for instrument repairs, maintenance contracts, software updates, replacement parts or add-ons i.e. objectives, filters, incubators, customization, special user support, as well as supporting material and administrative costs.
    • This is in accordance with the DFG rules for usage fees.
    • We will report the total income generated from user fees as well as its use in yearly reports that are available upon request.
  • In case the user misuses IMCES equipment, her/his user license may be revoked and the repair costs may be charged.

Biological Safety Level S1/S2:

  • The IMCES laboratories and microscopy rooms have permission for working at the S1 and S2 biological safety level.
    • Users of the facility must be familiar with the working practices and regulations required for S1 or S2, as appropriate.
    • They are required to provide the necessary approvals for their project before any experimental work can start.
    • Please note for S2 work an extension to the original project to work at the IMCES site has first to be applied for. This will be done internally, however work can only begin once a receipt has been received from the ministry. Users are therefore recommended to apply for S2 work well in advance.
    • Each new user will obtain an obligatory instruction in the safety issues of the S1/S2 laboratories at the IMCES.
    • This introduction will be repeated on a yearly basis.
    • While there are possibilities for laboratory handling (safety hoods, pipettes etc.) and short-term incubation within IMCES, long-term incubation or storage is not available.
      • All items stored should be clearly labelled with name, date, and contact number. Items not clearly labelled will be disposed of.
    • After termination of experimental work all biological material must be removed from the IMCES facilities. Unobserved biological material will be destroyed.
    • All material leaving IMCES is considered S2 and should be treated accordingly.
    • If special disinfection for S2 work is required people should bring it with them. i.e. Bacillol AF is not sufficient for lentivirus and uncoated viruses.
    • When booking instruments for S2 work using the scheduler users MUST indicate in the scheduler description S2 work is being performed and inform imces-support by email.
    • When working at the S2 level on the microscopes the S2 sign on the main door to the microscope room must be switched from S1 to S2.

User Responsibilities:

  • Users are expected to be familiar with the rules and regulations set out on this page.
  • Users are expected to operate instruments in accordance with criteria set in first user training.
  • In case of a problem with any of the instruments, first check the User Guide (if available) for help. If that does not solve the problem, contact IMCES staff to inform us about the problem - we will take care of it as soon as possible.
  • IMCES staff should be contacted immediately in case of damage to equipment.
  • IMCES staff should be notified immediately in case of spillage of hazardous chemicals or biological contamination.
  • After using IMCES equipment workspaces must be left clean and free of glassware i.e. wipe surfaces, clean objectives, dispose of biological samples, needles etc.
  • All chemical preparations on site should be performed in the IMCES laboratory space and NOT the microscope rooms.
  • Laser lines and fluorescent lamps should be handed over to the next user in a switched on condition if the gap to the next user is <2hrs (hand over in standby or low power if possible). Check reservations in scheduler.
  • The first person to use an instrument is responsible for switching it on.
    • Please only activate the laser lines required for your experiment.
    • Record in the instrument diary the time the system was switched on.
  • The last user in the scheduler for an instrument is responsible for switching the instrument off - regardless of whether they make use of the instrument or not (check in the scheduler after your session).
    • Record in the diary the time the system was switched off.
      • Please note if somebody wishes to use the mercury lamp after it has been switched off they must wait at least 20 minutes before switching it back on again (consult the diary).
    • Failure to switch off the instrument will result in a charge for the time the instrument was left on in operation.
      Exception: the electron microscopes must NOT be switched off at any rate but are to be left as you learned in the instructions:
      1. at the JEOL TEM the empty standard holder is locked in, the heating of the cathode remains OFF but the high- tension ON, the monitor on the right is switched off while the PC remains on, log off on the left monitor but only shut down the PC in case no other users are sheduled later on the day. At any rate write a note in the record book whether everything was ok.
      2. the Zeiss SEM and the controlling PC are both left in standby mode. At any rate write a note in the record book whether everything was ok.