Arnaud Delcorte

Arnaud Delcorte is a Research Director of the Belgian National Science Foundation (FNRS) and a Professor at the University of Louvain (UCLouvain) and University Saint-Louis, Brussels. At UCLouvain, he heads the Bio & Soft Matter Division of the Institute of Condensed Matter and Nanosciences and the Surface Characterization facility ( Arnaud has been active in secondary ion mass spectrometry (SIMS) for over 25 years, starting with his experimental PhD at UCLouvain with P. Bertrand and his computational postdoc at Penn State with B.J. Garrison. His current research activities encompass the theoretical and experimental study of energetic cluster-solid interactions, with an emphasis on soft molecular emission and transfer as well as the 2D/3D molecular characterization of surfaces for various applications. Arnaud is the secretary of the committee of the biennial SIMS conference, and a member of the committees of the ECASIA, ISI and SIMS Europe conferences. He is also the treasurer of the International Union for Vacuum Science, Technique and Applications (IUVSTA).

Main research topic

Energetic cluster ion interactions with surfaces lead to the release of atoms, molecular fragments and even intact kilodalton proteins in the vacuum, depending on the experimental conditions. The sputtered or desorbed species can be used for analysis (SIMS) or to design new organic and hybrid architectures at the nanoscale (review here). In SIMS, a mature surface analysis method, the desorbed secondary ions are mass analyzed and used for high resolution 2D and 3D imaging of samples such organic electronics assemblies, biological tissues or even single cells. In soft and reactive landing, the molecules are transferred into the gas phase and landed onto a designated substrate, with the possibility of patterning in the case of ions. For instance, our group showed that lysozymes (14 kDa) could be transferred by large argon clusters to fabricate a bioactive multilayer in vacuo (read more).

Molecular dynamics simulations of intact protein desorption by 15 keV Ar5000 clusters (2023)