Meet the SCExAO team

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The SCExAO team in the control room busy on the November 22nd 2012 observing run.


Active team members

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From left to right: Olivier looking like a martian. Christophe working hard while Olivier watches (pretty typical). The team watching the pyramid close the loop.


SCExAO is the brainchild of Dr Olivier Guyon, an astronomer who is passionate and has been devoted to the field of high contrast imaging for the past decade. Olivier is the PI of the instrument and is heavily involved with the low level software and system architecture implementation amongst many other aspects. Olivier Guyon was awarded the MacArthur fellowship in 2012 for the invention of the PIAA coronagraph. Olivier splits his time between Subaru, The University of Arizona and NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratories. He is eager to do astronomy that sometimes his tactics can be ... questionable. Pulpit rock
Dr Frantz Martinache is a founding member of the SCExAO project. Frantz was responsible for the design and construction of the first few generations of SCExAO. He pioneered the electrical/signal distribution system for the instrument and wrote the control software to automate the various functions of the instrument. His greatest contribution however, is the development of the speckle nulling routine which promises and order of magnitude reduction on the brightness of the qausi-static speckles around the post coronagraphic PSF. He is currently implementing his focal plane wavefront sensing method which relies on kernel phase analysis to the instrument. He recently moved to the Observatoire de Cote'de Azur but he is still a key member of the team. Pulpit rock
Dr Nemanja Jovanovic is the lead postdoc. on the SCExAO team. He was responsible for the design and successful rebuild of the SCExAO instrument in 2013 which included upgrading to the 2000 element deformable mirror and reflective rather than refractive relay optics. He works on mechanical design, optical alignment, software implementation as well as management aspects of the project. Nemanja is currently investigating the possibility of utilizing the extreme adaptive optics for injecting into photonic components in order to design new and innovative instruments. He is based at Suabru Telescope. Pulpit rock
Dr Julien Lozi is a Postdoc. who joined the SCExAO project from October 2014. he returns to the group after his productive visit as an undergraduate student in 2008 (see below). Julien works on implementing predictive control and optimal matrix techniques to the wavefront sensing architecture. Pulpit rock
Christophe Clergeon has recently graduated with his PhD. Christophe was involved in many rebuilds and upgrades of SCExAO throughout his PhD. His project focused on the design, build and early implementation of the non-modulated pyramid wavefront sensor for high-order wavefront correction on SCExAO. Christophe demonstrated the closed-loop operation of the wavefront sensor for the first 10 Zernike modes and 900 Fourier modes in the laboratory. Christophe is also the head of the laser guide star spotters for Subaru. Christophe is based at Subaru Telescope. Pulpit rock
Garima Singh is a PhD student currently investigating various approaches to low order wavefront sensing. She is investigating a technique which relies on reflecting the light diffracted from the focal plane by a phase mask coronagraph at the Lyot stop, for accurate low order sensing. She has simulated, built and tested this module and her first paper is currently under review. She is based at Subaru Telescope. Pulpit rock
Dr Tomoyuki Kudo is a PI on the HiCIAO instrument. He aids in the preparation and execution of observing runs by driving both AO188 and HiCIAO. He also aids the team in optimizing HiCAIO for the best possible performance when used with SCExAO. Tomoyuki is based at Subaru Telescope. Pulpit rock
Danielle Doughty started in May 2014 and is a PhD candidate with the School of Optics at the University of Arizona. She is working on the FIRST module and aims at maximize its performance in combination with SCExAO to advance high contrast imaging at or around the diffraction limit. She is based at Subaru Telescope. Pulpit rock
Sean Goebel started in October 2014 and is a PhD candidate with the Institute for Astronomy, University of Hawaii. He is working on using photon counting IR detectors for advanced wavefront control. Sean is working with the Selex, SAPHIRA detector and laying the ground work for the MKIDS array to arrive from UCSB. He spends half his time at Subaru Telescope and the rest at the IfA. Pulpit rock
Prashant Pathak started in November 2014 and is a PhD candidate with the Sokendai graduate school at the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan (NAOJ). He is working on closed loop atmospheric dispersion compensation and lucky Fourier imaging. He is based at Subaru Telescope. Pulpit rock


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From left to right: Nem aligning SCExAO. Garima remotely aligning the low order wavefront sensor. Olivier and Frantz pleased with the first on-sky demonstration of speckle nulling. Kudo-san hard at work with Oya-san in the background. small>


Visiting members

  • Dr Jun-Ichi Morino is a frequent visitor and contributor to the SCExAO project. He has been contributing to the project since ~2010. Most recently Jun-Ichi helped develop low and high level software algorithms for the December 2013 observing run.

Hosted students

  • Vincent Garrel, student at Observatoire de Paris (France), completed his PhD within the SCExAO team in 2012. He focused on the possible uses of a photon-counting camera both for science (lucky imaging) and for wavefront sensing (non-linear curvature wavefront sensor). Vincent was also part of the Subaru AO team and lead the crew of spotters for LGS AO runs.

  • Sebastien Vievard, an undergraduate student from Observatoire de Paris worked with the SCExAO team on a 6 month internship over the summer of 2013. Sebastien was influential in getting the FIRST instrument setup at Subaru and interfaced with SCExAO. He lead the alignment and testing of that module during his time.

  • Nicolas Parot, an undergraduate student visited us for a 3 month internship in the summer of 2013. He looked into appropriate disk targets for SCExAO and helped with the rebuild.

  • Tyler Groff, visited the SCExAO group several times during his PhD to help with the design and assembly of the early version of the instrument. He was critical to early observing runs and is the PI of a shaped pupil coronagraph currently installed within SCExAO. He worked on the SCExAO instrument throughout 2009-2012 and is now an on-going collaborator via the CHARIS integral field spectrograph project.

  • Paul Stewart, a graduate student from the University of Sydney visited the SCExAO team in 2011 and 2012. He worked on implementing the dual level (visible and IR) benches in SCExAO for the first time. He is currently involved with the visitor module VAMPIRES.

  • Takashi Yoshikawa, graduate student at the University of Tokyo (Japan), worked with the SCExAO group over the winter of 2009/2010. Takashi majored in space engineering and his focus was on attitude determination and control of spacecrafts. He contributed to the micro-satellite projects PRISM and Nano-JASMINE. During his stay he learnt about AO techniques and in particular phase diversity, to apply some of the tricks to space telescopes.

  • Kaito Yokochi, graduate student at the University of Tokyo (Japan), also visited over the winter of 2009/2010, to learn about the PIAA and help with the integration of an early version of SCExAO. His experience in interferometry and wavefront sensing techniques made him a great asset to our team. Kaito also explores ways to implement other coronagraphs like the 8OPM and UNI-PAC to SCExAO.

  • Frederic Vogt from Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne (Switzerland) worked with the SCExAO team in 2009 on the design and implementation of the Coronagraphic Low-Order Wavefront Sensor.

  • Gaetano Sivo, Master's student from Universite de Paris-Sud XI, contributed to the opto-mechanical design of the SCExAO bench and set up an alignment procedure for the different elements of the coronagraph in 2009.

  • Julien Lozi, an undergraduate student worked on the characterization of the first PIAA lenses in addition to the alignment of the SCExAO instrument in 2008 during a 6 month internship.

Pictures of People

The brain storming session in late 2012 for the rebuild of 2013

December 2012

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Olivier sleeping

Olivier sleeping in the control room. We have captured a truly rare sight in the act.

Nem upgrading SCExAO once again in late 2013.

December 2013


Paul initiating the first rebuild to give the instrument two benches in mid-2012.

Action shot of the SCExAO group unpacking the freshly delivered cover panels for the protection cage. From left to right: Takashi Yoshikawa, Frédéric Vogt, Vincent Garrel and Kaito Yokochi.

December 2009

Takashi, Frederic, Vincent and Kaito
Picture of a fraction of the summer 2009 SCExAO group

Group picture of the Summer 2009 SCExAO group.

From left to right: Frédéric Vogt, Vincent Garrel, Tyler Groff, Gaetano Sivo and Frantz Martinache.

Tyler and Gaetano proudly posing behind the freshly re-aligned optics of the SCExAO bench.

Summer 2009

Students posing behind the SCExAO bench
Picture of a student working in the simlab

Yosef Razin, undergrade at Princeton University assembling a mount for a camera to be used on a phase-diversity bench.

Summer 2009

Vincent Garrel posing on the Subaru lounge.

Summer 2009

Picture: SCExAO member posing
Picture: SCExAO member checking PIAA alignment

Frantz Martinache checking the alignment of the PIAA optics on the SCExAO bench.

Summer 2009