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Optical Technology

The main focus of our research is the application of the aperture synthesis technique at optical wavelengths, in order to produce extremely high resolution images of astronomical objects.

To this end, we are primarily involved in two optical interferometer projects, the Magdalena Ridge Observatory Interferometer (MROI), and the Very Large Telescope Interferometer (VLTI).

We are also actively researching the underpinning technology for future optical interferometers, including photonic crystal fibres, low-cost adaptive optics, and low-noise optical and near-infrared detectors.

Our team designed and built the COAST Interferometer, which is now primarily used as a testbed for subsystems and components intended for MROI, VLTI, and future optical interferometer arrays.

In addition to technical work, we have interests in several astrophysical topics, with an emphasis on subject areas to which optical aperture synthesis is making a significant contribution:

Physical origin of surface asymmetries on red supergiant stars

Atmospheric structure and mass-loss in pulsating long-period variable stars

AGB stars as planetary nebula precursors: origins of asymmetric structure

Radio and optical properties of Seyfert galaxies; unified schemes for Active Galactic Nuclei

If you are interested in doing research in these areas, please visit our Graduate Research Opportunities web pages.