The MPO team has operated a positive evolution of its structure within the Lagrange laboratory since 2017, becoming a full-fledged thematic team. This change, following the evolution of the staff and projects of the laboratory, is driven by the common language of the team members, Fourier optics, which spreads around four constitutive thematics:
The MPO team naturally includes the upstream research and development in instrumentation that is tied to these four topics, the design and development of technological demonstrators, a strong participation to the international consortia of large astronomical instruments (e.g. AMBER, VEGA, and MATISSE - PI Lagrange/MPO), specific post-processing methods to maximize the scientific return of these projects, and the scientific exploitation of these facilities. In addition to these rich and diverse activities, the team also performs research works in physical and numerical modelling, advanced system command, instrumental stabilisation, and image/signal post-processing.
The astrophysical applications span (exo)planetology, stellar physics, and extragalactic astrophysics. Every gain in angular resolution, sensitivity, and capture range, such as sub-milli arcsecond spatial resolution with optical interferometry or a contrast larger than 10^6 with the combination of adaptive optics and high-contrast imaging methods favors great advances in observational astrophysics. Such a progress results in major impacts in physics theories at every astronomical scale, providing clues to some of the hottest topics in modern astrophysics, in particular, on
- the mechanisms of the formation and evolution of planetary systems, with an obvious interest in habitable exo-Earths;
- the physics of Active Galactic Nuclei and galaxies in general;
- or even the final --and sometimes violent-- stages of stellar evolution.
Benefiting from a unique infrastructure with a cutting-edge computing center, cleanrooms of the brand new Fizeau building at Valrose site, a favored access to the Calern plateau (C2PU, CATS), and international partnerships (ESO, CHARA), our team presents all the key features to keep the Lagrange Laboratory at the forefront of large international projects while maintaining a strong asset in fundamental and exploratory research pole in instrumentation.