Packaging instructions

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Packaging Instructions
Preparing Your Samples
Prior to preparing your samples to be shipped to NEXUS it may be prudent to familiarise yourself with the
relevant ISO standards for preparing specimens for chemical analysis. These are ISO18116 and ISO18117.
Additionally, we have included below some very simple guidelines to help you prepare samples for XPS
analysis in an appropriate way. Do not consider these guidelines to be exhaustive however, and take all
precautions to ensure your samples are clean and safe for transport and analysis.
Generally, it is preferable for samples to be prepared and immobilised onto a suitable substrate prior to
them being shipped to NEXUS. This allows for safe transport of your samples, and aids in the process of
mounting your samples in an instrument once we receive them. Please take care to ensure that the
samples will not move or come loose during transport, and that they are shipped in durable clean
packaging. Often wrapping samples in clean aluminium foil (taking care to not contact the surfaces of
interest and dull side of aluminium foil faces to the samples) aids in keeping the surfaces clean.
If the samples can only be produced in powder form, these can be mounted onto conductive adhesive tape
such as that used in SEM analysis. Alternatively you could press the powders into indium foil. This has the
advantage of having a unique metal identifier as the substrate. Another option if it can be achieved is to
either disperse the material into a solution and then onto a metallic substrate and dry it (if it will adhere to
the surface) or to press the material into a solid 'puck', that could then be mounted for transport (and
analysis if necessary) onto something solid such as a clean glass slide, or clean stainless steel.
If your samples are mounted onto a substrate, such as a clean metal foil, it may be useful to ‘sandwich’
your sample between two pieces to protect the surface from accidental damage or contact. Be aware
however that if you use adhesive to mount your samples (for instance in the case of a powder), this may
cause problems where the two layers become stuck together. This can also be implemented for thin films,
where you could sandwich two thin films together to keep them clean.
Packing Instructions
We have provided in this packet some basic packing materials. As we cannot anticipate all dimensions,
numbers and sample storage boxes, we have provided only the packaging that we have found particularly
useful. You may use additional packing material if desired, but you must ensure you use the supplied labels.
The plastic sealable bag is intended to be the first layer of protection for your samples, after they have
been prepared in a suitable specimen container or with foil. This bag will seal to prevent accidental loss of
material. This protects your samples, but also protects carriers of your samples. The padded paper bag is
the second line of protection, also sealing, but provides some shock protection while your samples are in
transit. Finally, the cardboard box gives a rigid shell to protect your samples. This box can be folded to
provide variable space for your samples while retaining high protection and security.
Once your samples are packed, apply the shipping labels directly to the outside of the cardboard box. You
will need one of the blue and white address labels and one of the smaller tracking labels. The package then
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needs to be taken to your nearest Post Office. You will be given a printed receipt, which will have the
tracking number on it allowing you to track the package once it has been dropped off.
Placement of the packing labels is important for reliable handling of the package through the Royal Mail
system. Please place the small barcode label on the front top left of the package, and the address label on
the front at the bottom. Please see the picture below for an example. Also, to enable you to track the
package either note down the number somewhere, or take one of the small sticky tabs from the label
(indicated on the picture). We will also take one of these and attach it to your project registration form to
also allow us to track your samples.
IMPORTANT: PLEASE DO NOT WRITE ANYWHERE ON THE LABELS. IF YOU NEED TO ADD A RETURN
ADDRESS, OR TO NOTE YOUR PROJECT NUMBER, PLEASE DO THIS ON THE BACK OF THE PACKAGE.
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