User Guide to Remote Experiments

Remote experiment capabilities are now available on most SNS and HFIR instruments, allowing users to remotely conduct experiments and produce data through computer access. Users who are interested in a fully remote experiment, or a hybrid experiment with a combination of onsite and remote users, should review the guidance below or in the Remote Experiment Guide.

Remote Experiments Step by step:

  1. Submit a proposal requesting a remote experiment. Talk to the instrument team about whether your experiment lends itself well to remote access mode. If so, submit a proposal requesting a remote experiment by selecting “yes” on the Instrument Selection page in IPTS.
  2. Confirm your proposal in IPTS as soon as possible after approval. You will need to specify dates you cannot participate and experiment samples, containers, and shipping address. Go to “My Actions” on your IPTS home page.
  3. Obtain ORNL access approval. All users are required to have an active badge, even if you are participating remotely. Respond promptly to User Office emails regarding access. Contact the User Assistants with questions.
  4. Communicate with the instrument team during scheduling. Remember to re-iterate your plan to participate remotely. Instrument team contacts can be found here. We are using Slack to aide communication between ORNL staff and users. To get started, log into the Slack ORNL Neutron Sciences Workspace with your ORNL user ID and password.
  5. Confirm your attendance. Once your experiment is scheduled, you will receive an automated email from IPTS with a link to indicate how you will participate. Select "Remote Instrument Control" and the User Office will ensure your access and training are in place.
  6. Review Training Videos and Experiment Safety Sheet in IPTS. These action items will show for all Remote Instrument Control users in IPTS after your experiment is scheduled. You will be unable to access beamline controls if you have not completed these steps. For troubleshooting, contact the User Office.
  7. Shipping Samples. Samples and equipment are expected to arrive seven business days before the scheduled beam time to avoid any delays or loss of beam time. Refer to the shipping guide for details on shipping samples for your experiment. Shipping checklists are available for domestic and international shipments.

    Important Sample documents:
    • When adding samples in IPTS include all safety data sheets (SDS) for the sample(s) or their components and ensure all sample disposition information is complete (e.g., return mailing address).
    • Complete the sample loading sheet at the time of shipment (accessible from the proposal summary page). This allows the specific sample information (e.g. density, height, mass) to be applied to data collection fields.
    • When shipping samples, you must include a packing list or have all samples clearly labeled. This is critical to sample processing and acceptance.
  8. Accessing beamline controls – The instructions for accessing the beamline controls are covered in the training videos in IPTS (login required).
  9. Troubleshooting. If you are unable to access the beamline controls, try checking the following:
    • You indicated “Remote Instrument Control” when confirming your attendance.
    • You can see the proposal when logged in to IPTS.
    • The instrument team enabled the experiment for remote access in scheduling.
    • You watched and acknowledged the training videos in IPTS.
    • You reviewed and acknowledged the Experiment Safety Sheet in IPTS.
  10. Contact staff members with questions or issues:
    • Contact the User Office for troubleshooting with your login, IPTS, training videos, or Slack.
    • Contact the Sample Management team for sample and shipping related issues.
    • For urgent issues during your experiment, contact your local contact or the Instrument Hall Coordinators (865-241-4432)