Dear SEA Users:

In cooperation with the Office of Research and the Crisis Management Team, SEA will be returning to RS2 status and implementing the following protocols:

All Users must undergo regular PCR COVID testing.

All Users are required to wear masks at all times, as well as some other PPE dependent on facility, and to disinfect shared surfaces before and after use.

Users must observe physical distancing. There will also be restricted instrument availability to enable that distancing.

Labs will be restricted to approximately 1 user per 250 square feet, enforced by FOM signup as well as by individual users.

SEA instruments hosted in PI labs may have limited or no access, as determined by the PI host.

Users are encouraged to include a 30 minute buffer time between reservations to minimize the chances of close proximity to other users.

Training will still be challenging to manage while maintaining physical separation. New trainings will continue to be a lower priority than getting existing qualified users back into the labs. As safe training practices are developed, SEA staff will offer more trainings to new users. If you have a training emergency, please discuss it with the SEA scientist in charge of that instrument.


Effective immediately, no new External User account requests will be accepted. External Users who have already begun the account creation process will be permitted to finish the process.

All External Users must follow Rice guidelines above on PPE and physical distancing, as well as any lab-specific guidelines.

All External Users must submit a negative PCR COVID test result from within the last week before they can use any instrument. PCR swab tests are specifically required. Results may be scanned and emailed to Meri Dix ( or Angelo Benedetto ( along with the specific instruments needed; FOM accounts will be reactivated accordingly. A single test result will be valid for up to 1 week for all SEA instruments.

These guidelines are a minimum – any work must be approved by the instrument manager first, who might require further restrictions.

SEA Facilities and their general availability to External Users are as follows:

Instrument Suite Open for External Users? Open for Fee-for-Service?

200 MHz - No

500 MHz - Yes

Mass Spec Yes, for currently trained users Yes
Cleanroom and SST 020 Yes Yes, but limited capacity

DMax, SmartLab, SQUID - Yes

SCX - No

SEM, AFM, Raman, TGA, Denton Sputterer, FTIR Yes Yes
TEM Yes Yes
Bio NMR Yes Yes
Optical Microscopes

Nikon A1 - Yes

Others - No

Nanodrop, qPCR, Thermal Cyclers Yes Yes
Flow Cytometry and Cell Sorters Yes Yes
XPS, BET, L80XP Centrifuge, Plasma Cleaner Yes Yes
Auto CPD, Ultramicrotome Yes Yes
EMC (Electron Microscopy) Yes Yes
Biomaterials Lab Yes Yes

Already trained users will take precedence. New trainings will be done as possible, but will be a low priority. Fee-for-service work will continue to be an option for many instruments.

In general, Super-User managed instruments will not be available. Exceptions might be made by arrangement with the PI instrument host on a case-by-case basis.

Please remember that while we try to accommodate external users, our primary mission is to support Rice research and keep our community safe. During these extraordinary times, we must take all reasonable steps to protect the health and safety of our Rice community.

We anticipate that there may be a higher than usual volume of users needing SEA resources once they are available. As such, users may experience delays in accessing SEA tools. SEA appreciates your cooperation and understanding.

Questions or concerns about these policies should be directed to Angelo Benedetto (

Thank you,

Angelo Benedetto, Ph.D.
Rice University - Shared Equipment Authority
Director of Operations
(713) 348-8207 (w)
(281) 686-4924 (c)