The use of nanoparticle beam (Nanoparticle Probe in Biology (NPB)) as a probe in biology is the results of research on particle-matter-secondary emission interaction conducted at IPNO in the last few decades. The offer of analysis was then opened to bio-organic surfaces with the emergence of metallic cluster beam and molecular beams.

Since 2009, NPB research has focused on:

a. The realization of Andromeda (Equipex ANR-10-EQPX-23) delivering nanoparticle beams in the domain of keV to MeV. The platform has been operational since 2017.

b. The development of time-of-flight mass spectrometry (EVE Spectrometer) for the direct analysis of biological surfaces (without preparation) allowing to characterize the chemical composition of a few tens of thousands nm3 by a single impact.

c. The identification of biomolecules with a sub-micrometric spatial localization obtained by electron and proton emission microscopy (EVE MSI, Mass Spectrometry Imaging).

The NPB is now focusing on three major EVE MSI enhancement projects:

d. Mass spectrometer associated with an emission microscope for mass analysis in a range of hydrogen to a few thousand Daltons.

e. High resolution mass spectrometer with a collision cell for the determination of molecular structure (Drift Mass Spectrometer).

f. Surface analysis at atmospheric pressure that will allow biological tissues to be analyzed in ambient conditions.

Click on the thumbnails to see the pictures.

a. Mass spectrometry analysis

The availability of cluster beams and high energy nanoparticles make it possible to simultaneously determine the elemental and molecular composition of a complex surface such as meteorites.

The efficiency of these beams is 100 times higher than the ions used in ToF-SIMS in the keV domain. In fact, the molecular mass is accessible for very small amounts of materials in micro-domains.

The localization and identification of the mineral and organic phases are obtained by ionic imaging using an electron and proton emission microscope.

These non-destructive measurements leave open the possibility of complementary measurements such as Micro-Raman, IR measurement, μIBA, electron microscopy. In this case, the spatial information of the identified chemical components is preserved; it is one of the rare instruments allowing to perform these measurements while preserving the integrity of the sample.

b. Simulation of organic matter production processes in space

These analyses of cosmo-materials by mass spectrometry and ion imaging can be supplemented by simulation to obtain analogs in the laboratory. Indeed, Andromede and the two ionic columns: NAPIS and TANCREDE, allow to simulate the ionic irradiation conditions in space, from solar wind to cosmic particles and nanoparticles. As a result, modifications of different materials, molecular fragmentations and synthesis in relation to the mineral matrix can be determined. In addition, the platform has several irradiation stations including a cryogenic set-up for specific studies.

Click on the thumbnails to see the pictures.

Andromede provides the scientific community molecular beams of methane, fullerenes and metal clusters for studying the behavior of materials under irradiation. The scientific fields studied are the modification of materials under irradiation or implantation, the aging of materials, study of solid physics, microelectronics, cosmo-materials and earth sciences.

These beams delivered in the MeV range make it possible to achieve electronic stopping powers similar to Uranium ions of several hundred MeV with a power density 10 to 100 times higher. This feature effectively modifies all kinds of materials in the first few hundred nm thick.

With the NAPIS device, implantations of nanoparticles in all types of materials are possible (see source R & D).

Andromede facility delivers also atomic beams from proton to multi-charged Xenon with intensities from several hundred nA to several tens of μA. Its specificity at national and international level also lies in the delivery of ion beams ranging from proton to gold nanoparticles with energies from keV to MeV. The material characterizations are performed by mass spectrometry and RBS, and various implantation stations are available including a cryogenic one.

Click on the thumbnails to see the pictures.

The Andromeda platform has two sets of ion source development:

a. a filtered NAPIS ionic column dedicated to R&D around LMIS, LICIS and vacuum electro-spray type sources for the production of cluster beams or molecular beams with great brightness.

b. A TANCREDE beam line for ion beam developments with ECR type sources.

These two systems are available for all new developments with our support and the contribution of our expertise on these kinds of sources.

Click on the thumbnails to see the pictures.