Research Safety at Basic Plasma Science Facility

BaPSF staff routinely monitor every aspect of laboratory safety while working in a collaborative environment with students, researchers, and visitors on plasma devices. This task is performed to ensure safety of personnel and equipment, assist with compliance, and support the research objectives. The Environment, Health & Safety (EHS) office of UCLA provides resources for consultation, inspection, and training across a wide spectrum of issues such as general hazard awareness, confined space entry, personal protective equipment (PPE), laser safety, respiratory and hearing protection, high static magnetic fields, chemical safety, and machine-shop operation. A detailed information and regulatory requirements can be obtained from the EHS website. BaPSF safety coordinators conduct monthly self-inspection of plasma devices and associated subsystems at BaPSF to identify and correct safety problems in consultation with the BaPSF director and staff. EHS conducts quarterly inspection of facility and provides feedback to BaPSF. We provide below a summary of safety guidelines for users (local and external users; and students) and visitors of the facility. Note that information provided on this page is not meant to be complete and may not include all hazards present in our laboratory. BaPSF will not be liable for injury, loss of life, and/or property caused due to your own negligence.

BASIC RULES

  1. In the event of a serious injury (e.g., fracture, crushing, burn, amputation, significant bleeding, death), immediately call 911 from a campus phone or 310-825-1491 from off-campus or cell phone. Users of the facility must notify the lab supervisor and physics & astronomy personnel department. The lab supervisor must notify EH&S hot-line (310-825-9797) within eight hours.

  2. UCLA students, research staff, and laboratory supervisors must take mandatory web-based and/or in-person training conducted by EHS. A record of this training must be submitted to the BaPSF administrative specialist. Prior to working on devices at BaPSF, all users are required to take an initial safety orientation provided by the BaPSF safety coordinator or research staff.

  3. External users are also required to take the initial safety-orientation. These users may not have taken safety-training conducted by EHS. Therefore, they must work on experiments with the scientific liaison. The BaPSF user guide has a list of safety guidelines specific to external users of the facility.

  4. BaPSF has a supply of regularly used personal protective equipment (PPE) for users (e.g., latex and nitrile gloves, terrycloth insulated gloves, disposable aprons/gowns/cap, safety goggles, goggles for laser protection, face-shield for welding, full-face and N-95 respirators, earplugs).

  5. Users, students, and visitors must wear closed-toe shoes and long-pants or skirts which fully cover the legs. They should confine long-hair and secure loose clothing and jewelry before working on experiments or machining tools. Only approved safety goggles (not regular prescription glasses) are to be worn while you are in the machine shop or working on a machining tool. Additional PPEs may be required for specific experiments (e.g., eye protection during welding or soldering).

  6. Minors under the age of 14 are not permitted in BaPSF laboratories or shops, except when participating in an approved and supervised tour. Minors between the ages of 14 and 18 are allowed in the laboratory only when enrolled in courses listed in a campus-course-catalog or part of an approved and supervised tour or have written consent from their parent(s) or guardian(s); and, They have received the appropriate safety training and BaPSF has documented that training; and They agree to strictly adhere to the BaPSF safety guidelines and, They are at all times under the direct supervision of a qualified adult designated for this responsibility.

  7. Before working on an experiment, identify the closest first-aid kits, fire-extinguishers, fume-hoods, emergency showers/eye-washes, material safety data sheets (MSDS), and be aware of emergency exit routes.

  8. We do not allow untrained personnel to access the machine shop and work with high-power lasers, high-voltage equipment, high-power RF/Microwave, probe drives, heavy equipment, flammable gases, and caustic chemicals.

  9. Typical noise level around LAPD is 80 dB and in the pump room and magnet power supply corridor is 90 dB. This level is safe for brief exposures. To avoid the adverse effect on hearing due to prolonged exposure, we strongly advise wearing earplugs (or suitable noise-canceling headphones) when users are in the lab.

  10. If any component of the experiment has a potential of safety-hazard, appropriate signage, warning-lights, and caution-tapes must be placed on the lab entrance and/or around the experimental set-up in consultation with the scientific liaison of the experiment. The signage must be removed after completion of the experiment. Read these signs carefully before entering the laboratory.

  11. Any liquid spill must be cleaned up as soon as possible. For chemically-hazardous spills, EHS must be contacted and the area must be cordoned off until completion of the cleanup.

  12. All chemicals and dangerous substances must be labeled and stored appropriately in cabinets for the benefit of users and emergency personnel.

  13. Chain gas bottles to walls. Do not leave them scattered around facility. Take extra precaution in opening valves on gas cylinders and pressurizing chambers with flammable and highly reactive gases (e.g. hydrogen, oxygen).

  14. Do not look at arcs when welder is operating (specially around machine shop on the first floor).

  15. Do not taste anything in the laboratory (except in the control room). This applies to food as well as chemicals. Do not eat or drink from laboratory glassware.

  16. External users may stay in the control room or monitor ongoing experiments in the laboratory, but they must not change machine parameters or set-up experiments in the absence of the scientific liaison or BaPSF staff.

  17. External users and students are not allowed to open or close gate valves on the large plasma device, change gases, use overhead cranes, or change settings of water-flow valves. Consult the BaPSF user guide for instructions on user-built probes and materials compatible with BaPSF devices.

  18. Do not walk into ETPD or other vacuum chambers without notifying BaPSF staff.

  19. Lab documents, forms, and detailed UC safety guidelines can be obtained by contacting BaPSF staff or downloaded from the EHS website (Phone: 310-825-5689).

ELECTRICAL SYSTEMS AND INSTRUMENTS

  1. Do not touch cathode, anode, bus-bars, and electrical terminals without properly grounding and turning off the equipment. There are kilo-volt range voltages on ion gauges, residual gas analyzers, and plasma-sources.
  2. Several power supplies in the laboratory contain lethal voltages (e.g., 120 to 480 V single and/or three phases, HV capacitor banks) located inside chassis. These power-supplies must use a grounded enclosure, properly labeled input/output/dump-switches, warning-lights and/or LEDs, and safety-interlocks.

  3. If you have to float electrical-instruments and oscilloscopes (only lower voltages < 50 V permitted), it is your responsibility that human safety is not compromised. When working with an electrical circuit, observe caution in handling loose wires. Make sure that an enclosure is electrically grounded before you touch it.

  4. Under no circumstances, a terminal or metal-enclosure containing lethal voltages should be placed in an open access area.

  5. We expect everyone to handle equipment carefully. Some of these equipment (including oscilloscopes and delay generators) are very expensive. Please do not leave these instruments on the floor.

  6. There are several ultra-high-voltage power-supplies in the lab. Repair or maintenance of these power supplies must be done in the presence of at least two trained personnel.

  7. Sections of vacuum chambers may be floated to high-voltages or contain transients induced by time-varying magnetic-fields. Consult the scientific liaison of the experiment before touching any part of the chamber.

  8. Do not use water on oil or electrical fires.

MAGNETIC FIELD

  1. Strong magnetic fields (up to 0.9 Tesla) are present in and around all plasma devices at BaPSF. If you have a pacemaker or any other health issue that requires staying away from strong magnetic fields, please inform us before visiting BaPSF.

  2. Extreme caution is warranted in the use of magnetic materials, tools, or objects around magnets. (for example, do not bring a sharp iron screw-driver or wire-cutter in the vicinity of magnets).

  3. Do not place gas bottles near either end of the chamber (strong magnetic field at ends).

  4. Keep credit cards, watches, and other sensitive electronics away from magnets.

HIGH TEMPERATURE

  1. Do not touch the vacuum chamber near hot cathode sources (e.g. both ends of LAPD).

  2. Exercise caution if you see water leak in the lab - it may be too hot to touch.

LASERS, LIGHTS, AND ELECTROMAGNETIC RADIATION

  1. There is a separate laser safety document and standard operating procedure (SOP) for users working on high power lasers. Without proper training, no one is allowed to work on high-power lasers at BaPSF.

  2. If you are not trained for laser safety, follow instructions posted at the laboratory entrance and use suitable eye protection. Do not stare directly at a laser beam.

  3. Do not view plasma through a quartz view-port (transmits UV).

  4. Do not directly look at the LaB6 cathode. It is usually too bright.

  5. Typical electromagnetic radiation level in BaPSF laboratories is well-below the FCC limits for Maximum Permissible Exposure (0.3-3 MHz: 100 mW/cm2; 3-30 MHz: 180/f2 mW/cm2; 30-300 MHz: 0.2 mW/cm2; 300-1500 MHz: f/1500 mW/cm2; 1.5 GHz- 100 GHz: 1 mW/cm2). These power levels are estimated for uncontrolled exposure to general population for extended duration. If your experiment requires use of a high power RF or microwave system, consult BaPSF staff for proper EMI shielding and ground-loop prevention.

  6. We impose stricter limits on the level of ionizing radiation (x-ray and EUV) in the laboratory. If this radiation level exceeds 0.002 rem (0.02 millisievert; recommended by United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission for any unrestricted area) on specific experiments, users are required to stay away from the main laboratory. In this case, remote operation of the experiment from the control room is a viable option. General purpose survey meters with GM detectors (Alpha, Beta, and Gamma surveying) are available to measure this radiation level. If a future experiment at BaPSF has potential of generating ionizing radiation, the user must inform BaPSF staff for arranging radiation dosimeters.