The direct imaging and spectroscopic characterization of mature habitable extrasolar planets orbiting nearby stars are the end goal of high-contrast imaging. So far, the results of state-of-the-art high-contrast imaging instruments only concern young (self-luminous) and massive planets at large orbital separations. The gap between the ambition and its current reality still requires to tackle multiple challenges, for one must simultaneously improve the angular resolution and the dynamic range of observations, while addressing problems that had so far gone unnoticed when using large telescopes without extreme adaptive optics.
The MPO team of Laboratoire Lagrange has contributed to the development and the on-sky deployment of the second generation VLT instrument SPHERE, as well as to the SCExAO on the Subaru Telescope. The team contributes to the scientific exploitation of SPHERE (leading the « other sciences » team). With a wide and strong expertise in high contrast instrumentation control covering coronagraphs, wavefront sensing and control, segmented aperture cophasing, data processing and simulation, the MPO team keeps innovating. Projects like SPEED and KERNEL, emanating from MPO, are inventing and developing high-contrast imaging solutions that operate as close as possible to the diffraction limit, so as to fully take advantage of the angular resolution potential of existing and future observatories, either from the ground or from space.