Working in the ALMF during COVID-19 pandemic

During partial opening under COVID 19 pandemic make sure you follow our additional safety measures including our special rules for introductions.

In order to make working in the ALMF as easy, convenient and fair as possible for everybody, it is necessary for all users to follow some principle rules. To negotiate exceptions please contact us directly. Thank you for your co-operation.


  • Introduction by ALMF staff is compulsory for all ALMF systems.
  • If you cannot remember how to operate a system you were already introduced to, please do not hesitate to ask the ALMF team for advice.
  • The working environment in the ALMF is BSL1 (bio safety level 1). In case, you need to work with S2 organisms, please contact us and the safety office well in advance.
  • We charge an hourly usage fee. For external academic visitors (EMBL member state) the usage fee is a contribution to our maintenance and consumables costs. Industry and academic visitors (non-EMBL member states) are charged full costs. Click here for information on the internal usage fee.
  • If you publish work supported by the ALMF, e.g. by using one or more ALMF microscopes or support in image or data analysis, it is obligatory to include this sentence in the acknowledgement:

    We thank the Advanced Light Microscopy Facility (ALMF) at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) [and COMPANY OF USED EQUIPMENT] for support.


General rules

  • Booking of the microscope before use is obligatory.
  • You are responsible for the system while you are booked.
  • Delete your booking, if you do not use your slot. If you delete the last booking on the day, ensure that the system is switched off (the previous user might finish before you delete your booking).

ALM specific rules

  • Do not reserve the systems for more than 2 weeks in advance.
  • You can book up to 4 hours per day or long-term experiments between 6:00 p.m and 10:00 a.m. and during the whole weekend. Please don´t forget to switch off devices not needed during long-term experiments like the HBO lamp on confocal systems.

High-throughput specific rules

  • To book the high-throughput equipment, please use our booking system. Please contact us for access rights and introduction.
  • Long-term (>1 week) reservations have to be discussed well in advance.


General rules

  • We strongly recommend to save your data immediately on your group server.
  • In case you save data locally, store it in a folder with the name ‘user_phone number’, be aware that there is no backup of the local hard disk drives of all ALMF PCs.
  • In case of local memory shortage ALMF staff will delete data files older than 2 days.

ALM-specific rules

  • We provide disc space \\almf\almf\ to transfer data up to 15 GB (temporary, automatically deleted after 30 days).

High-throughput specific rules

  • We provide disc space \\almfscreen\almfscreen to store data up to 250 GB for 6 weeks. Data are automatically deleted after 6 weeks, with a warning by e-mail one week in advance.
  • We strongly recommend to use our Laboratory Information Management System (LIMS), which enables you to link all your images with treatment information.

Before you start

  • Check the equipment for any obvious damage or spoilage and note it in the logbook or tell ALMF.
  • Wipe off dust and smear from the lens and the sample cover slip using lens tissue (soaked in ethanol if required).

While working

  • Check which immersion media are required for each lens you use, before you add any medium (oil, glycerol, water, air). If you don't know: ask ALMF.
  • Clean immersion media from lenses with a dry lens tissue every time you change slides. Slides should also be cleaned by a dry tissue.
  • Use moderate amounts (1 drop=50 µl) of immersion media. Immediately remove immersion media spilling over the objective rim.

After you have finished

  • Clean immersion media from every lens you used with a dry lens tissue.
  • Check whether the system is booked later on the same day.
  • If you are second last to use the system, make sure the user after you shows up.
  • If you are last user of the day, switch off all lamps and lasers as described in the operations short-manual for each system provided by ALMF.
  • Comment on the performance of the system by writing into the logbook (e.g., o.k. or a failure description)