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Project ANR-10-EQPX-23

High Energy Nano particles and molecules : probe of nano-domains and nano-objects deposited on the solid surface, under vacuum or in air.

Andromede collaboration

Andromede is mainly a new instrument for mass spectrometry analysis of nano-domains and nano-objects present on a surface. This project corresponds to the more efficient version, at present, of the secondary ion mass spectrometry (SIMS).The molecular information (mass and structure) is obtained from the impact of nanoparticles (NPs), Au4004+ up to Au10000q+ for example, and also fullerenes C60n+ accelerated in the MeV domain by a 1 to 4MV Van de Graaff structure. These projectiles permit the analysis of hydrated (or not) samples, either under vacuum or at the air-pressure. The research field covers nano-technology with the preparation and analysis of nano-structured surfaces ; biology and “in vitro” studies of cells and bacteria ; astrophysics and the simulation of extraterrestrial interactions, with icy surfaces and hydrated clays in various gaseous surroundings ; and finally the study of the catalysis induced by the particular nano-structured surfaces.

The ions are produced by two ion source types. The clusters and nano-particles are provided by a LMIS (Liquid Metal Ion Source). This source NAPIS (NAno Particle Ion Source) has been built by Orsay Physics, an industrial partner of the project leader in the LMIS sources development and in the ions focusing in the nanoscale domain. The multi-charged molecular ions are produced by an ECR source supplied by Pantechnik. This source allows the production of high intensity light atomic ions (proton, helium) for low energy nuclear astrophysics experiments, but also for analyses with IBA technique (Ion Beam Analysis). To increase the ions and particularly the NPs charge a coupling of the LMIS and ECR sources is under development. This coupling will be set up in a second stage of the project.

The instrument is equipped with time-of-flight mass spectrometers to analyse the ejected ions under vacuum and in the air with, in this last case, a laser post ionization in order to improve the detection efficiency of the emitted species. One of these mass spectrometers is associated to an electron or proton emission microscope permitting to localize the impacts in the sub-micrometric domain.

The development of this new tool is performed in collaboration with several laboratories of the Université Paris Sud, partners of the project : the Institut de Chimie Moléculaire et des Matériaux d’Orsay, the Institut de Génétique Moléculaire d’Orsay, the Institut d’Astrophysique Spatiale d’Orsay, the Centre de Spectrométrie Nucléaire et de Spectrométrie de Masse and an industrial partner, OrsayPhysics. There is an international collaboration for this project with the Centre for Chemical Characterization and Analysis of Texas A&M University.

All the beams are open to the community of physicists studying the irradiated solids who will so be able to carry on with material alteration experiments in extreme conditions obtained with high energy clusters, but also atomic ions in a large mass range.

The possibility to accelerate high intensity atomic ions, coming from the ECR source, in a low energy domain, opens this accelerator to nuclear astrophysics.

The Andromède final setting up is forecasted in the 209 building called the IGLOO which it will share with another Equipex winner, ThomX, developed at the LAL, and this will make up a platform of the Université Paris Sud and the CNRS dedicated to multidisciplinary research.


The accelerator was delivered to Orsay in June, after being commissioned successfully in March 2015 at NEC (National Electrostatics Corporation) to Middleton (Wisconsin, USA). It was installed temporarily in the SuperACO hall pending completion of IGLEX Centre commissioned in December 2016. The acceptance tests in July showed that the first accelerator tube was damaged during transport. He was replaced in August and all the equipment was assembled and tested in September 2015, incorporating the magnet high energy deviation and High energy beam lines. As the INB106 (Basic Nuclear Installation) which depends SuperACO and the buildings IGLEX was not decommissioned, it was forbidden to use the accelerator, which was put on hold. The decommissioning procedure resulted December 2d, 2015 with a publication in the Official Gazette on December 8th, allows both Andromede and the restarting of the authorization procedure to the ASN (Nuclear Safety Authority). The period to acquire a greater mastery of the accelerator and the long-term tests for debugging purposes only began in January 2016 with the help of NEC engineers, revenues for this opportunity. The beams from the ECR source have been extracted from the accelerator and the voltage 4 MV was achieved without difficulty. A second series of tests to incorporate improvements from these trials will be conducted with NEC in May 2016. The first experiments are expected in June or July 2016. The figure shows the installation in September 2015, Andromede in SuperACO hall with SF6 transfer system, the magnet of high energy selection and the beam line of High energy heavy clusters at 1.29 ° and atomic ion beams at 90 °.


The multidisciplinary centre of technology and applied science called IGLEX project started in 2013. The project management was notified of the DAHER-VIRIS company on April 1st, 2014. After some delays related to funding, the DCE project phase IGLEX with the choice of companies was finalized by notifications of 11 items on December 18th, 2015. The financing will be through the CPER Ile de France (State-region Contract Plan) granted to the Valley plan during the second quarter 2015, and signed October 13th, 2015 ; The client is represented by the CNRS DR4 delegation. The kickoff and the first IGLEX site meeting took place on January 6th, 2016. The overall reception of all lots is scheduled for late December 2016. The end of the first shell, which is the two bunkers built in the Igloo to receive the two EQUIPEX ThomX and Andromede is scheduled to end June 2016. The picture shows a view from inside the Igloo with the construction of walls of Andromede.

Panoramic view of the inside of the Igloo late April 2106, the two casemates underway with the start of the construction of the ThomX south wall.



Institut de Physique Nucléaire Orsay - 15 rue Georges CLEMENCEAU - 91406 ORSAY (FRANCE)
UMR 8608 - CNRS/IN2P3

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