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Explanation of NCNR Proposal form fields

  1. Experiment Title: A brief description of the experiment serving as an identifier.
    Submission Type: Normally, a user should submit a PROPOSAL rather than a REQUEST. A beamtime REQUEST should only be made by a NIST staff member, or a collaborator, or a PRT member, to ask for days from the allocation reserved for in-house and PRT programmatic research. A PRT (Participating Research Team) is a consortium of institutions responsible for maintenance and research on one or more NCNR instruments.

    Some thermal beam instruments are available only through REQUESTS. These include the bt9 triple-axis spectrometer, the bt4 filter-analyzer spectrometer (FANS) and the bt8 residual stress diffractometer. Non-NIST and non-PRT scientists interested in using these instruments should contact a NIST staff member to see if collaborative research can be arranged.

    All beam time PROPOSALS are regarded as NEW proposals, and are almost always sent to external referees for scientific review before review by the BTAC. The category of CONTINUATION proposals has been eliminated. Proposals to continue partially completed work are expected to contain enough information about previously obtained data to justify more instrument time. All proposals are reviewed by the NCNR Beam Time Allocation Committee (BTAC).

    A QUICK ACCESS proposal asks for beam time in the very near future for measurements that cannot be delayed. Such a proposal will be reviewed by the BTAC and held to a higher standard than regular proposals.

    It is not necessary to classify beam time REQUESTS as new or continuations. They are just REQUESTS, as described above.
  2. Desired dates: specific dates, or ranges of acceptable dates for the proposed measurement. The format for this field should be MM-DD-YYYY. To specify a range of dates please indicate as "MM-DD-YYYY to MM-DD-YYYY". To specify a list of non-consecutive dates, separate the elements of the list with semicolons, i.e. "MM-DD-YYYY to MM-DD-YYYY; MM-DD-YYYY to MM-DD-YYYY"
  3. Impossible dates: specific dates, or ranges of dates, during which the measurement cannot be performed. The format for this field should be MM-DD-YYYY. To specify a range of dates please do so as "MM-DD-YYYY to MM-DD-YYYY". To specify a list of non-consecutive dates, separate the elements of the list with semicolons, i.e. "MM-DD-YYYY to MM-DD-YYYY; MM-DD-YYYY to MM-DD-YYYY"
  4. Number of Days: duration, in days, of the proposed measurement.
  5. Research Area: the general discipline or subject area pertaining to the proposed research.
  6. Funding Agency: source of the funding for the proposed experiment -- used only for purposes of record keeping.
  7. Publications: a list of publications resulting from work previously performed at the NCNR.
  8. Description of Proposed Research: The most important part of the proposal, describing scientific motivation, with relevant references and any preliminary results using neutrons, Xrays, or techniques. The proposed experiments should be explicitly outlined insofar as it is possible to do so. There is a length limit of four pages for this section, which must be uploaded in a pdf file for proposals. For requests, the section should be shorter, and may be uploaded in a pdf file, or entered as preformatted text, i.e., an html marker <pre> is automatically imbedded at the start of the text, and a </pre> at the end. You can turn off the preformatting by inserting negating markers, i.e., insert </pre> at the start of your text and <pre> at the end. You may then use html markers to format your text as you choose.
  9. Figures: For proposals, all figures must be included in the uploaded pdf file.

    For requests in which the description is enetered as text, there are presently two ways of submitting figures with an electronically submitted proposal:

    1. The most straightforward way (recommended) is to directly attach GIF, JPG, or PNG figures by using the controls provided on the form. Start by clicking on the Add New Figure usa-button. Then use the Browse usa-button to locate the graphics file on your local computer, and press Open when you locate it. The file location will appear in the text box. Then press the Upload Figure usa-button. Repeat the process to attach additional figures, if needed. Click the Save usa-button, then click the Preview usa-button to view the output proposal in a new window. The figures will appear near the bottom of the proposal.
    2. Alternatively, You may embed a hyperlink to a figure in the text of the proposal description. For this you will need to do two things:
      • Place the figure in GIF, JPG, or PNG format in a directory on your local webserver such that it can be accessed from the web. If you are unsure how to do this, please ask your local webmaster.
      • Embed the hyperlink into the text of the proposal by typing: </pre><img src=your URL><pre> for example, if your URL is "", your hyperlink will be: </pre> <img src=; <pre>
    3. If you submit figures in this way, we strongly urge you to preview the proposal (see top of this page) before submitting it so that you can be assured that your figure has successfully been incorporated into your proposal, and is of a size that will fit on a printed page. This method allows you to place figures within the text of your experiment description.
  10. Applicants: relevant information for all participants in the measurement. One applicant, the "Primary", is considered to be the principal contact for purposes of notification. The Primary applicant, who is assumed to be submitting the proposal, unless otherwise designated, is sent messages acknowledging its receipt, acceptance or rejection. Other applicants are sent these messages if the submitting applicant has so indicated in entering their identifying information on the Web form (the Forward check box). Other applicants may be added by clicking the Add New Applicant usa-button, which will cause additional text boxes to appear. One of the other applicants may be designated as the primary applicant by selecting the appropriate usa-button.
    1. First Name: the given name of the applicant
    2. Last Name: the family name of the applicant
    3. US Resident: check yes if the applicant lives in the US
    4. E-mail address: that of the applicant
    5. Forward emails: notification emails will be sent to applicant, if the box is checked
    6. Affiliation information: several fields pertaining to the applicant's home institution. The institution type must be chosen, after which a new box will appear, offering a drop-down list. An institution is to be chosen from the drop-down list, or if no appropriate choice is offered, the proposer may add an institution by using the controls provided on the form, i.e, by choosing "other" and entering more information. The affiliation, a subset or division of the institution, may be chosen from the affiliation drop-list or added, if necessary, by choosing "other" and entering more information.
  11. Instrument requested: instrument desired for the proposed measurement.
  12. Local contact: the name of an NCNR staff member responsible for arranging the logistics of the proposed experiment. If you do not choose the default "instrument scientist", please contact the desired staff member.
  13. Instrument resolution: desired instrumental resolution/collimation
  14. Instrument configuration: desired instrument configuration selected from a list of standard configurations.
  15. Non-standard configuration: describe any special requirements for sample preparation or environment -- any non-standard equipment.
  16. Sample equipment: the equipment required to maintain the sample under the desired experimental conditions (temperature, humidity, etc.).
  17. Safety: categorizations of the hazards associated with the samples in question. If there are no hazards, then "no hazards" must be selected.
  18. Risk management: if any hazards are associated with the measurement, some description of how they are to be handled must be supplied.
  19. Sample description: a collection of information which serves to classify the sample in question. Up to three different sample descriptions may be provided. Click Add New Sample to start.
    1. Sample name: a short "label" for quick identification of the sample, preferably the common name of the material, e.g., water
    2. Form:
    3. the form of the sample -- solid, liquid, etc.
    4. Chemical formula: chemical formula of the sample, e.g., H2O
    5. Mass: the mass of the sample in grams. If mass is an inappropriate description, volume or size may be used, but please specify the units!
    6. Measurement Temperature Range: the desired temperature range for the sample
    7. Sample availability: when will the sample be available for the measurement?
    8. Number of runs: the number of different complete measurements for the sample in question (e.g., several temperatures, etc.) (necessary only for bt1 powder diffractometer)
    9. Total measurement time: the total estimated measurement time required for the sample in question. (necessary only for bt1 powder diffractometer)
  20. Sample environment: the equipment required to maintain the sample under the desired experimental conditions (temperature, humidity, etc.).
  21. Special requirements: any special requirements for sample preparation or sample environment -- describe any non-standard equipment.


Created October 17, 2017, Updated November 15, 2019