MIT MRSEC - Materials Reseach Science and Engineering Center

X-ray Diffraction Shared Experimental Facility

Instructions for Commercial Users

Access for non-academic users is regulated by NSF Guidelines Notice #122, which states that we cannot compete with commercial laboratories that offer the same analysis. Therefore, we can only help you with measurements that are not readily available commercially. You should also be aware that because of these regulations and our own internal guidelines, the service that we provide non-academic users tends to be more expensive and slower than that provided by commercial labs. Our list of resources includes links to some commercial vendors that you may want to consult. In addition, we are not typically able to sign a non-disclosure agreement or provide data for use in a lawsuit, court action, or similar proceedings.

1. Determine if your project meets the requirements of NSF Guidelines Notice #122

The MIT CMSE receives federal funding that prevents us from competing with commercial analysis labs. Please review NSF Guidelines Notice #122 and determine if there are any commercial labs that will be able to perform the analysis.

If none exist, then proceed with step 2.

2. Contact XRD facility staff to assess the feasibility of your measurement

Please fill out the access request form and email it to XRD facility staff. They will be able to help you determine the details of the analysis, including which measurements should be performed, what can and cannot be measured, which instruments should be used, the quantity of sample you will need, etc. They can also help guide you through the registration and training process.

3. Submit a project application form to CMSE administrators

This form can be found here. If you have any questions about this step, please contact Susan Dalton. The application may take 1-2 business days to be approved. When it is approved, you will receive an email stating so, and you can proceed with step 4.

4. Obtain a purchase order for the work

Obtain a purchase order from your department. Email the purchase order to Susan Dalton. Please mail an original signed copy to:

Center for Materials Science and Engineering
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
77 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA  02139
Attn:  Susan Dalton

The Center's Administrative Office invoices monthly through the MIT Accounting Office for use of facilities based on the approved rate schedule. This schedule is subject to change. Billing is based on the actual logged usage of the facilities. Most fees for instrument use are billed on an hourly basis. In addition, fees for supplies and materials may be applied. Charges are due when billed. Failure to pay in a timely way is grounds for the termination of this agreement.

Checks should be made payable to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and sent to the address on the MIT invoice. Questions regarding purchase orders and charges should be addressed to Susan Dalton, Tel: (617) 253-7632, E-mail:

Rates are as follows:

* A note about off-peak hours: these hours of use are not intended to provide 'discount' rates to users. Instead, these hours are intended for longer runs that would otherwise tie up the machine for many hours during the day. Please remember that working in a lab after hours is inherently less safe then working during the day. To operate instruments in the X-Ray SEF after hours you must have a partner who will periodically check in on your safety, as per MIT guidelines for laboratory safety.

** As you may have noticed, I do not charge for every minute or hour that I spend assisting you with data analysis. My philosophy is to provide you with support so that you get the most accurate information from your data, thus encouraging you to use the X-ray SEF more often. My cost is then recovered through your paying to use the instruments.

5. Obtain an MIT Kerberos account(s)

Email Susan Dalton the names, email addresses, and birth dates of any users on this project. MIT will then issue each of you an ID number, which will allow you to proceed with step 6. An MIT Kerberos account is typically 8 characters or less - for example _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

6. Create an account in our user management system, MUMMS, and complete all EHS prerequisites

MUMMS is our online user management system, which is found at Additional help for creating an account and meeting EHS requirements can be found here.

  1. Create an account in MUMMS
  2. Add the X-ray Diffraction SEF to your services
  3. Complete the EHS online class #EHS0100w-A, General Chemical Hygiene
  4. Complete the EHS online class #EHS0501w, Managing Hazardous Waste
  5. Read the CMSE chemical hygeine plan. Then log in to MUMMS and click on the link acknowledging that you have read the CHP.

If you have any trouble with this step, first read the MUMMS user guide. If you still need help, contact X-ray facility staff, or Susan Dalton.

MUMMS main menu

7. Navigate the MIT Intranet to complete online web training