User Guide

First time users

The facility is located in the Science and Technology Research Building (STRB) at 1040 Veteran Ave, near the Wilshire exit of the 405 freeway. The BaPSF offices are located in the Rehab building next door, at 1000 Veteran Ave, in room 15-70. Directions to the buildings are posted on the website. (link to “Visit us”). Users can use the LAPD control room as office space. Users also have access to the conference room, which features a conference call system and a large monitor. Parking is available in UCLA parking lot 32, next to the STRB building. Recommended accommodations include Hilgard House, Tiverton House and The Royal Palace.

The STRB and the BaPSF offices are locked at all times; a personal key-code is required for entry. First time users are advised to contact their scientific liaison upon arrival Monday morning at the facility, or alternatively dial the main office line at (310) 206-1772. A personal key-code will be generated for each user, not to be shared with others.

A set of keys to the control room and to the machine room will be provided upon arrival. These keys need to be returned to a staff member prior to the end of their runtime.

Solicitation process and scheduling

The Basic Plasma Science Facility makes 50% of the Large Plasma Device’s (LAPD) runtime (around 20 weeks of operation) available to external users. Typical allocation of runtime to users is 2 weeks of operation per year. Proposals for runtime can be made through submission of a 3 - 5 page whitepaper typically due in December. Whitepapers can be submitted by e-mail to the BaPSF Director (Troy Carter, tcarter@physics.ucla.edu). White papers are up for renewal each year with an additional 3 pages devoted to a progress report on results of time already allocated. More information on white paper submission can be found here. The white papers are reviewed by the scientific council (link to people on scientific council), and given a numeric ranking. The top ranked white papers are allocated machine time for the next year.

The facility director will reach out to users with approved white papers to schedule the experiment in the order established in the white paper selection process. Users have the freedom to pick open weeks on the BaPSF calendar. The facility will accommodate the requests for specific weeks as long as there are no operational constraints. The facility director may for example aim to schedule experiments with similar needs in consecutive weeks in order to minimize setup time. Each user will have a scientific liaison assigned who will be coordinate the implementation of the project with the user.

Hours of Operation

The facility is open Monday through Friday, 9 am until 6 pm, Saturday, 9 am until 5pm. There is no support from technical or administrative staff on Saturday, only scientific staff will be present. No experiments are scheduled for Sundays and on university holidays. The machine does run overnight, and users are welcome to have the automated DAQ system acquire data overnight. It is advisable to start setting up the overnight run around 4 pm to avoid being unable to collect data overnight.

Experiments are typically scheduled to start on Mondays. Users can request certain items to be pumped down prior to the start of their experiment. Facility staff will attempt to honor these requests in so far as they don’t interfere with ongoing experiments. At the end of the experimental run-time it is the users’ responsibility, together with the facility’s staff, to have their experimental equipment and setup removed from the machine by 9 am the following business day, in order to prevent conflicts with the next users. Typically, this means that cleanup should happen on Saturday afternoon.

Personal Safety

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 or their scientific liaison.

Upon first arrival at the facility, users will get a walk-through of the LAPD lab with the scientific liaison in which the main dangers in the lab will be pointed out. Users must adhere to the safety instructions of the BaPSF staff, and as outlined in the safety manual.

Users 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.

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.

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.

Strong magnetic fields (up to 0.9 Tesla) are present in and around all plasma devices at BaPSF.
Consult the staff before visiting these devices, if you have a pacemaker or any other health issue that requires staying away from strong magnetic fields.

Machine Safety

Vacuum leaks: Breaking vacuum will damage the plasma source; any leak will degrade cathode performance. Users are not allowed to work on any part of the vacuum system of the LAPD; this includes opening/closing vacuum valves, turning on/off the vacuum pumps.

Be careful when moving around the probes and electronics. Take care not to bump any probe shafts.

Only the facility staff can move the small LaB6 cathode in/out of the machine.

Use extreme caution when working above/near vacuum windows. Use a protective covering to avoid accidental breakage and subsequent air leak. No magnetic objects (e.g., tools) are allowed near port windows.

Avoid using metal objects near magnet connections and bus bars.

The overhead crane can only be used under staff supervision.

Everyone is expected to handle equipment carefully. Some of the equipment (including oscilloscopes and delay generators) are very expensive. Do not leave these instruments on the floor.

Refund Policy

The facility will refund the cost of the users’ hotel and air travel in the event the experiment cannot be executed for more than 36 consecutive hours. Possible reasons for refunds are prolonged power outages, air leaks requiring machine openings, unavailability of a major electronics component, etc. Users are advised to keep in mind that things do go wrong from time to time in real experiments, and leave some contingency time in their run schedule for this purpose.

If the machine has a known but workable issue prior to the user’s arrival, the user will be notified as soon as possible ahead of time, and given the option to reschedule. The costs incurred with rebooking the user’s air travel will be refunded. A typical example is a slightly damaged cathode due to a previous air leak, which would result in a less uniform plasma density profile. If the user agrees to continue the experiment after consultation with the facility staff, then no refunds will be given later on unless the plasma conditions markedly deteriorate during the user’s run time.