In accordance with Ames National Laboratory’s working hours, the Sensitive Instrument Facility is open Monday–Friday 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM. The facility is closed on all federal and university holidays. The equipment is available for use after hours. Users will be granted after-hours access on a case-by-case basis. Contact the Program Coordinator (sif@ameslab.gov) for more information.

After Hours

After hours is anytime outside of normal business hours including weekends and holidays. Those granted after-hours access must have an authorized buddy when using any hazardous materials or performing any work deemed hazardous in laboratory spaces. The buddy must be authorized to be on-site by SIF staff. Those who bring unauthorized individuals on-site may be barred from further SIF access.

Key Card Access

The doors of the building and the sample preparation laboratories will be locked at all times. All new users will be met at the front by SIF staff. The front door may not be propped open. Key card access for regular hours will be granted based on the completion of full instrument training. Each user will need to swipe when entering the building; holding the door open for multiple users is discouraged. Those granted after hours access will be given key card access to the building after normal business hours. Users will be granted after hours access on a case-by-case basis.


It is critical that every SIF user transports their sample appropriately to and from SIF. For more information or instructions, please visit our Materials Transportation page. If you have further questions, please reach out to SIF staff (sif@ameslab.gov).


Users are not allowed to bring anyone on-site without prior approval from the Program Coordinator. Visitors must be escorted by a designated SIF staff member at all times and may not operate any instrument or conduct any hands-on experiments. Those who bring unauthorized individuals on-site may be barred from further SIF access. If someone is interested in visiting the SIF, please contact the Program Coordinator.


Rates are available here and are subject to change with each fiscal year.


All users will need to be fully trained on each piece of equipment prior to independent use. When training you will be charged instrument time and labor.


After completing all requisite training, new users will be granted access to the online equipment scheduler which is called Booked Scheduler. The reservations for the instruments are on a first-come first-serve basis and are to be made in advance.


Instrument use is logged using the Booked Scheduler website and clicking the check in/out buttons. Users are charged based on the time calculated between checking in and checking out. The Program Coordinator must be notified immediately if there are any issues with checking in and out of the system. If issues are encountered, please contact SIF Staff (if during business hours) or email sif@ameslab.gov (if after-hours). Compliance with this procedure is mandatory. Those who will not comply may have their SIF access revoked.