LMU user policy


All users are welcome to use LMU instruments. To gain access you must first fill the LMU user access form and arrange a short meeting with us. The link to the access form is in our Wiki. A training session will be arranged based on the meeting. After the training you will be granted reservation rights for the instrument. You can contact us by e-mail: lmu-staff at helsinki dot fi or by phone.

The beforementioned meeting is compulsory. You are required to prepare a 5 minute presentation of your project so that we can discuss specifics and possible problems. This allows us to choose the right equipment and tailor the training according to your needs. For example if you do not have previous experience with confocals the training is typically a 3-hour session depending on your samples. User training is charged according to the duration of a session. The access for the LMU facilities can be added to your magnetic key after the first training session.

If you are doing live imaging with GMO samples, the microscope rooms have to be included in your GMO work application. Human pathogens are not allowed on LMU premises.


Reservations for the light microscopy unit equipments are done through a web based application at https://lmu-reservations.biocenter.helsinki.fi/Web/. The reservations are made in half hour blocks. Minimum reservation time for confocals and Cell-IQs is 1h.

Instructions for the reservation system are on our Wiki, including the info how to access the system from outside of the University of Helsinki network.

Important to know before booking:

  • Booking of the equipment before use is compulsory.
  • Cancellations should be done 1h before a reservation starts.
  • Workdays 9-17 are Prime Time. Every day 22-08 is Night time and other than Prime time or Night Time is Other time.
  • Reservation time limits; longer reservations by separate agreement:
    • SP5, SP5 HCA, MP SP5 SMD: 6h/day
    • LSM700, SP8 STED: 4h prime time/day
    • 3I Marianas: 10h prime time/week
    • DM6000: 3h prime time/day
    • LS Workstation: 14h/day
    • Other Workstations: no limit
    • Cell-IQs, CellInsight: no limit
    • LightSheet: no limit
  • Reservations can be made 21 days in advance except for Cell-IQs 30 days. If you need to reserve further in advance, contact us.
  • We charge according to reserved time.
  • During a reservation there is a possibility to edit a reservation by shortening or extending it as long as all edits are for future times and there is no conflicts to present reservations. Reservations can be modified by only the person who has made them or an administrator.
  • Accumulated bills will be sent out approximately four times per year.
  • All LMU computers make a security log which is followed by LMU personell. All extra usage that has not been told to us within two working days will be charged 100% extra. You can notify us by reserving more time from the scheduling system or by sending us an email (lmu-staff at Helsinki dot fi).

Try to make reservations so that prime time is used efficiently. Mark the lasers you are going to use. This is important information in order to let the previous user know which lasers can be shut down to extend their life time. On applicable systems use the option to select the temperature and CO2 usage for your reservation. The reservation system will show reservations with 37C -options in red on the calendar view. 37C option is right one for experiments made at 30-40C, just add the exact temperature you want to the Description field if it is something else than 37C. If you want to make your experiment at room temperatures use the RT-option. It takes 2h to warm up a microscope and one hour to cool it down. and reservation system requires you to leave enough time between reservations for this. If you want to use the microscope during the warm up or cooling down, ask LMU staff to make a reservation for you. LightSheet microscope does not take extra time to change temperature.

Important at the end of session

  • Check from the reservation system what the next user will do before finishing a session. If the next user comes within two hours leave the system and lasers the next user is using on and log off from the computer. Otherwise shut down the system. If the lasers have been left turned on unnecessarily, you will be charged for the time. At an analysis workstation leave it on if there is usage at the same day otherwise shut down. Do not shut down LS Workstation, just Sign Out.
  • If the next user within 24 hours has a 37C reservation leave/turn on the heating, otherwise leave the system at room temperature.
  • LMU staff will make an effort to have the systems on the right temperature but the final responsibility is on the previous user to leave the system on right temperature. If you are planning to do use 37C at time when there has been no use within previous 24 hours (for example on Monday morning), you have to make sure yourself that microscope will be warmed up before your session.

Scope of Services

LMU staff provides basic training and troubleshooting during prime time at no extra cost. More advanced services like imaging your samples or analyzing your images can be done either as scientific collaboration or fee for service. On scientific collaboration we charge the used equipment time and on fee for service the equipment time + operator cost. On large projects the fees are negotiable.


The LMU personnel would greatly appreciate, if Light Microscopy Unit was mentioned in the acknowledgements in research publications containing imaging data acquired in or with support of LMU, or when LMU staff contributed significantly to the image analysis. Here are examples of a sentences that can be used:

  • "Imaging was performed at the Light Microscopy Unit, Institute of Biotechnology."
  • "The authors acknowledge the assistance and support (of N.N.) of the Light Microscopy Unit, Institute of Biotechnology for performing image analysis."

We kindly ask to send a notification about your LMU-supported publication to the head of the imaging facility: Kimmo dot tanhuanpaa at Helsinki dot fi