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Institute of Solid State Physics

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Safety

The general safety guidelines for the institute are available only in German. This is a summary for those who can't read German.

The emergency number to call in case of a fire is 112.

Risk areas
Certain rooms at the university have been declared to contain increased risks. It is not allowed to work in these rooms alone outside office hours (8:00 - 17:00). The rooms are:

Petersgasse 16, Cellar: x-ray laboratory (K10 und K11/K12), workshop (K07/K08 ) laser laboratory (K02/K03/K04)
Petersgasse 16, first floor: chemical laboratory (105), laser laboratory (109)
Petersgasse 16, second floor: surface physics laboratory (206, 211, 212)
Petersgassen 16, third floor: surface physics laboratory (308), sample preparation (309), electronic measurement laboratory (313), student laboratory (312)

Safety contact people

Peter Hadley
p.hadley@tugraz.at, 8967
General safety issues at the institute

Emil List
e.list@tugraz.at, 8468
Laser laboratories

Roland Resel
roland.resel@tugraz.at, 8476, 8469
Radiation safety

Johannes Knapp
johannes.knapp@tugraz.at, 6578 oder 0664- 4652254
Fire prevention

Roland Resel
roland.resel@tugraz.at, 8476, 8469
Ombudsman for safety at the institute

Chemicals
Many of the chemicals that we use are poisonous and/or corrosive and/or explosive. Before you start using a chemical, read about the risks and the handling guidelines on the safety sheet. Safety sheets for the chemicals we commonly use are in the chemical laboratory on the first floor. Your can also look for safety sheets in a Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) database. The safety sheets tell you what the dangers are and what precautions you should take (such as wearing goggles or gloves). Follow those guidelines! Not every kind of glove is resistant against every chemical. We have a glove selection guide to help you choose the right kind of gloves.

Good resources for learning about working safely with chemmicals are: The chemical safety brochure from the Amercan Chemical Society, Safety in Academic Chemistry Laboratories vol.1, and Safety in Academic Chemistry Laboratories vol.2.

Anyone who plans to use the organic semiconductor laboratory on the first floor (PH01130) should contact Bettina Friedel.

Laser laboratories
Looking into a laser beam can damage your eye. Wear the laser glasses provided. Don't work with tools or jewelry that could reflect the laser light into your eyes.

Recommended reading for those working with lasers: "Laser Safety Guide" (ISBN 0-912035-06-4) and "Safe Use of Lasers" (ISBN 0-912035-65X )

Radiation
For an introduction to radiation safety see: US Nuclear Regulatory Commission Regulatory Guide 8.29.

Cryogens
Cryogens like liquid helium or liquid nitrogen are extremely cold. Avoid direct contact with cryogenic liquids or cold pipes with cryogens flowing through them. Wear protective gloves when handling cold pipes. If you handle liquid nitrogen in an open container, wear long pants over boots so that if the liquid nitrogen spills, it will not flow into your shoes.

When cryogenic liquids warm-up, they expand and the pressure inside the vessel containing the liquid will build up. If there is not some way to release the pressure, the vessel will explode. Large storage vessels have a weak spot to relieve the pressure so that the explosion is not catastrophic however you are not supposed to depend on this. Give the helium or nitrogen a path to escape. It is sometimes possible to close values in a measurement set-up in such a way that liquid cryogens get trapped in a pipe somewhere. If you do this, the measurement apparatus could explode.

Be sure that the room where cryogenic liquids are used is well ventilated. If helium or nitrogen displaces all of the oxygen in a room you can asphyxiate. In high enough concentrations, nitrogen gas is poisonous. Always leave a door or window open when working with liquid cryogens. Don't carry the large storage dewars of liquid nitrogen alone. Don't ride in an elevator with a storage dewar. Put the dewar in the elevator and walk up the stairs to meet it.

Electrical hazards
A current of 1 mA can be felt and is uncomfortable. About 12 mA is enough to contract the muscles in your hand. Your hand may then grasp the source of electrical current and you will not be able to let go. If between 25 and 200 mA flows from hand to hand, your heart is likely to go into ventricular fibrillation. This is a rapid uncoordinated quivering of the heart muscles. Ventricular fibrillation continues after the source of the electrical shock has been removed. A current greater than 200 mA will cause the heart to clamp (stop). A prolonged flow of electrical current causes death by resistive heating that cooks the vital organs. After a short electrical shock, CPR will often revive the victim.