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Declaring your samples

This page explains sample-sheet declaration for your proposal in the User Portal:

General Information

All samples to be measured must be described using sample forms. Materials with similar composition should be grouped in one sample form, e.g. for several samples of the same material but with different crystal structures or concentrations, one sample form is sufficient including a description of the (range of) different structures or concentrations.

All proposals must be accompanied by at least one sample form before they can be submitted. Once a proposal has been allocated beamtime, it is possible to declare additional samples linked to the proposal by clicking on the “Samples” button in your list of Submitted Proposals. Once an experiment has been scheduled, the samples which will be measured during that experiment session must be declared in the Experiment Registration form by selecting from the full list of samples associated with the proposal.

Please note that the Safety Group needs accurate information to evaluate the risks of the sample, the session and the proposal.

^ Manage Samples

The samples associated with a proposal can be managed by clicking on the "Samples" button of each proposal in your list of "My submitted proposals" in the User Portal. This opens the "Manage Samples" tool that allows you to:

  • View the list of samples forms associated with the current proposal, including their assigned Safety evaluation color.
  • Add a new sample form.
  • Edit any sample forms associated with the current proposal.
  • Duplicate sample forms from any or your other proposals.

Proposer can duplicate any sample from any proposal on which they are listed as a Principal investigator, Co-Investigator or user.

Sample form for a particular proposal can be created and edited by the Principal investigator and all Co-Investigators or users (participants registered for experiments) of that proposal.

Each sample form is assigned a safety rating (colour) independent of the proposal safety colour. When an existing sample form is edited (except the short name field), its safety colour is reset and requires re-evaluation by the Safety Group.

At the release, you will be able to see your samples forms declared and assessed before the release with their assigned safety colour. Please note that any edition of these sample forms in the new interface will result in the reset of its safety colour: you will then be requested to complete the missing fields of the new form content in order for safety to re-assess your sample form.

For sample forms declared before the release and duplicated to a proposal created after the release: you will then be requested to complete the missing fields of the new form content in order for safety to re-assess your sample form.

Materials with similar composition should be grouped in one sample form.

The sample form consists of 3 tabs:

  • Description:
    • Note that each sample must have a unique short-name within a proposal.
    • Specific questions might be asked depending on the category selected.
  • Handling & Equipment
  • Certify:
    • Only people having an active ESRF user account can be selected as Sample Responsible.
    • Only slide the toggle "Certify" button when your sample form is completed and ready to be evaluated by the Safety Group.

^ Specific safety cases

1. Biological Experiments

Biological samples are classified in four risk classes: from 1 without danger, to 4 the most dangerous samples. For the classification the French legislation from the Ministry of Work and from the committee on genetic engineering is used.

The evaluation of infectious risks, outlined by the directive no 94-352 dated 4 May 1994 concerning the protection of workers against risks resulting from their exposition to biological agents, is based on a classification of biological agents into 4 groups based on their level of risk of infection (Article R 231-61-1).

  • Group 1: includes biological agents not susceptible of transferring illnesses to humans;
  • Group 2: includes biological agents capable of transferring illnesses to humans and considered as being dangerous for workers; their propagation is improbable; a vaccine or an effective treatment is widely available;
  • Group 3: includes biological agents able to transfer serious illnesses to humans and considered as being very dangerous for workers; their propagation is highly possible, but a vaccine or an effective treatment is widely available;
  • Group 4: includes biological agents which can transfer serious illnesses to humans and considered as being very dangerous for workers; the risk of their propagation is very high; no vaccine or effective treatment exists.

At the ESRF, only class 1 samples can be used, but class 2 samples can be allowed in those experiments where the possibility of contamination of workers and environment is considered negligible. Experiments with class 2 samples will always be red and for each of these experiments a strict protocol will be made up. For details please consult the Biological Safety web page for experiments.

In order to help the safety responsibles with the classification, please mention in your application for beam time the name of the biological sample, the organism it was derived from and the manner it was (over)produced and purified.

Please contact the safety group concerning any questions about your sample and about whether ways can be found for measurements on class 2 samples.

* Macromolecular Crystallography sample sheets

Please remember that a sample sheet must be submitted for each sample announced in the beamtime application form. Also, when a session is created, one has to select in the submitted list, the number of sample sheets to be submitted. The sample sheet has to be filled in as correctly and precisely as possible, in particular the full official name of the protein must be used.

* Animal studies at the ESRF

Each time you come to the ESRF for experiments involving animals, you have to fill in the form concerning animal studies.

2. Chemical experiments

When you describe your experiment, please give as many details as possible. Describe the following:

  • the experimental set-up step by step
  • the quantity of each chemical product (even for the preparation of the sample); the quantity of gas bottles on the beamline is limited to 1 litre for toxic and flammable gases
  • the instruments to be used
  • the safety measures to be taken for the reception, preparation and disposal of the sample, when it is necessary.

3. Use of Lasers at the ESRF

Before each installation and use of a laser on the ESRF site, the following information must be communicated to the Safety Group:

- class of laser

- name and type

- maximum power

- place of use

- names of users and responsible person


Information on security measures to be followed when using Laser CLASS IV

Access doors

The laser may only be switched on and used if all access doors are closed. All doors will be equipped with a security system with position contacts.

If a door is opened whilst the laser beam is being used, the beam will be stopped immediately by the shutter.

There is only one access door, equipped with an entry control device, which may be opened for 20 seconds without stopping the beam.


Each window in the room must have curtains. Each curtain must be equipped with position contacts connected in series to the laser safety system. If all the curtains are not in a lowered position, a shutter stops the laser beam from going out.

A curtain will be installed behind the main access door of the experimental hutch. It will be equipped with position contacts in the same way as the other window curtains.


Each access door must be equipped with a red illuminated safety sign reading "Danger Laser" which is connected to the beam shutter system. It will light up as soon as the beam is switched on.

A signs situated above the hutch entry control device indicates the main safety measures to follow when entering a room where a laser is being used.

Safety goggles

Safety goggles, adapted for lasers, must be made available to all those people working with the laser. These goggles must be worn as soon as the laser hutch is entered.

Thermoelectric couples

A thermoelectric couple system must be installed in the axis of the laser beam, behind the mirrors. If the latter are destroyed or moved, the rise in temperature of the detectors will lead to the automatic stopping of the laser.

User Information

The operation of the safety system for controlling the closing of the doors and curtains needs a redundant system with two potential free contacts.

The Safety Group will connect the electrical safety systems as soon as all the elements of the safety system (curtains, contacts, ...) have been installed and made available to them.

Before the laser is used, a safety visit will be carried out in order to check that everything that has been requested is operational.

At the end of this visit, an authorisation to use the laser will be given to the person responsible for the experiment.

4. Procedure for transfer, use and storage of samples composed of natural or depleted uranium coming from countries outside France

Despatch of the sample to the ESRF

The sample will arrive by an officially recognised transporter, in conformity with the international rules concerning the transport of dangerous materials (AEIA, category 7) with, as consignee, the Radioprotection service of the ESRF Safety Group. Transport costs are at the expense of the person responsible for the experiment.

All samples arriving by any other means will be refused and the experiment cancelled.

The following must be sent with the sample:

- a certificate dated and signed by the person in charge of radioprotection, which guarantees the mass and chemical composition of the sample as specified in the experiment proposal;

- a measurement certificate specifying the total activity of the sample, its dose rate on contact and at 10cm; it should also be noted if the sample has been exposed to neutron beams;

- a spectroscopy , X with the results of the spectrometer software programme analysis.

Arrival of the sample at the ESRF

On arrival, the sample will be taken care of by the Radioprotection service of the ESRF Safety Group.

If the measurements are different from those specified by the sender, the sample will be returned to the home institute at the expense of the person responsible for the experiment.

If not, the sample will be stored in the radioactive source cabinet of the ESRF Safety Group until the experiment starts.

The experiment

During the experiment, ESRF safety procedures will be applied.

End of the experiment

The sample must be returned to the Safety Group without delay for new physical and chemical measurements. It will then be stored in the radioactive source cabinet of the ESRF Safety Group.

Despatch of the sample to its home institute

The ESRF will contact an officially recognised transporter (ZIEGLER of St Martin le Vinoux) who will return the sample. The transport costs will be at the expense of the person responsible for the experiment.

You may contact the ESRF Safety staff for any queries you may have concerning safety aspects of the experiment (M. Moroni, ext. 2369, e-mail:

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