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Getting Started

Please check the WCAM FAQ for help with questions about getting started at WCAM.

To become a WCAM lab user:

Step 1: Plan the initial work you will do at WCAM

You should have some specific work that you are ready to accomplish, such as depositing silicon nitride on samples you already have, or doing lithographic exposures using a mask owned by your group, or something similar. (Why?)

The more information you can gather about what you need to do before you start, the more productive your time at WCAM will be. For example, if you are a new graduate student, other members of your group may be able to suggest details of processing parameters. WCAM staff will be happy to discuss your project with you, and recommend tools or processes that can help you get useful work done.


Step 2: Take the WCAM Safety and Orientation Course

The course is available on the Web, through the UW-Madison's implementation of the Moodle online training system. You can prepare by reading WCAM's Safety Program document.

It is your responsibility to understand and follow all the safety protocols discussed in the Safety Program and in the online course. A partial summary of WCAM Lab Rules, excerpted from the Safety Program, can serve as a handy reference to refresh your memory.

Users from outside the UW-Madison campus must contact WCAM staff to be given access to Moodle as a guest user and be enrolled in the course.

To take the course:

Step 3: Submit the WCAM User Information Form

UW-Madison researchers: Use the Internal User Form.

Everyone else: Use the External User Form.

Print a hard copy of the form, and fill it out. Click here if you need help with the form. Place your completed form in the mailbox near Room 3118 ECB. You will receive a confirmation email when your information has been processed. Please note that WCAM needs to have your form BEFORE you come to orientation.


Step 4: Schedule on-site orientation and equipment training

After you receive confirmation that your User Information Form has been processed, contact Quinn Leonard to schedule an on-site orientation to the cleanroom, which takes about 30 - 45 minutes. You can schedule your first equipment training for this time, as well. When you come to the cleanroom, bring:
- Your UW ID card
- A cleanroom notebook (available from most scientific supply companies)
- Detailed information on what you want to do in the lab. Work this out with Quinn in advance.
- Additional tools and supplies specific to your task. Work this out with Quinn, too.





Help with the User ID form:
UW-Madison users need to include:





Why do I need to know what I want to do, before I come to WCAM?
WCAM frequently receives requests from new users who don't have a specific project to accomplish, but who ask to "learn the cleanroom", or who submit a long list of equipment and ask to be trained on all of it at once. Generally, we find that it is unproductive to train a user on a tool unless he has a current need for that tool. There are several reasons for this.

First, users who train on a tool that has no connection with a project they are closely involved with, don't learn to use the tool very well. But when completion of your thesis depends upon successful use of a tool, the quality of of your learning experience sharpens considerably.

Second, if a user learns a dozen tools all at once, some of them are likely to turn out to be tools he never needs to use. Training in this case is an unproductive use of both the user's time, and the time of the staff member who does the training. Worse, it ties up a tool so that it can't be used by someone who actually needs it for real work.

Finally, unpracticed skills deteriorate quickly. So, even if a user who is trained on a tool he doesn't need right away does eventually need it later, he usually needs to be re-trained (which wastes everyone's time) or he is an underskilled user of the tool (which is bad for everyone in the lab).

Therefore, you must demonstrate that you have actual work to do in the lab, before you are granted access, and you must show that you have actual work to do on a tool, before you request training on it.







Date last modified: 03-July-2014 11:16:43  · Date created: 29-Aug-2001
Content by: WCAM staff  ·  Accessibility  ·  Web services

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