Instituto de Ingeniería Matemática y Computacional

Facultad de Matemáticas - Escuela de Ingeniería


Why developing an Adaptive Optics Training in Chile? 

More and more instruments at big observatories in Chile are equipped with Adaptive Optics (AO) requiring their staff to understand how an AO system works in order to help producing the best observations out of it.


miniatura noticia

The training delivered by the Pontificia Universidad Católica (UC) is an introduction to AO designed for technicians, engineers or astronomers of the observatories who may have to participate in developments, commissioning, operations or maintenance of adaptive optics systems. In 2017-2018, we have organized the first training with participants from the European Southern Observatory (ESO) in Chile. In 2019, we hope to gather participants from ESO, as well as from Gemini Observatory, Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory (CTIO) or Las Campanas Observatory.

Training goals

The participants will acquire knowledge on the AO systems, the reasons why they are needed, their design and components, as well as the challenges related to their developments nowadays and in the future. Concepts related to light, wave propagation in the visible and infra-red, wavefront aberrations and their impact on the observations (images or data) are studied. Relevant concepts of devices and technologies for the AO components are presented and compared. The participants will thus acquire the basics to enable the preliminary design of an AO system. The training also includes significant time spent in practical sessions in the laboratory and on numerical AO simulators. This is aimed at relating the learned concepts to the concrete difficulties of operating an AO system at the telescopes.

Program March-April 2019

To maximize the transfer of knowledge and the acquisition of practical abilities, this program associates learning sessions from theory with hands-on activities in smaller groups of participants.

The training includes two parts separated in 2 different weeks. The participants must attend both parts of the training.

The planned schedule for Fall 2019

  • from Monday 18th to Friday 22nd March 2019
  • from Monday 8th to Friday 12th April 2019.

Please contact cbechetp - at - ing.puc.cl for more information on the schedule.


Theoretical lectures:
1. Introduction to AO.
2. Optical imaging and Optics for AO.
3. Optical effects of the atmospheric turbulence.                                                        
4. Wavefront sensing and wavefront correction.
5. Laser guide stars.
6. Wavefront reconstruction.
7. AO Control.
8. AO calibration.
9.Tomographic AO.
10.Extreme AO specificities.
11.AO applications out of astronomy.

E sessions:
1. exercises
2. introduction to AO simulation tools
3. practice on AO simulators

Laboratory sessions:
1. Introduction to the Single-conjugate AO bench.
2. Practical use of wavefront sensor, deformable mirror and rotating phase screen
3. Optical design of the AO system on the bench.
4. Modal AO correction on the bench.
5. Separation of Tip-tilt and high-order AO correctionon the bench. 



AO Training Teaching staff

  • Clémentine Béchet
    Engineer, Engineering school École Centrale de Lyon (France); Ph.D. in Electronics and Control, École Centrale de Lyon (France). Adjoint Assistant Professor Institute of Mathematical and Computational Engineering (UC - Chile); 10 years of expertise in research in adaptive optics for the largest telescopes in the world (e.g. VLT, Gemini, EST, ELT), working for the European Southern Observatory (ESO - Germany), for Lyon Observatory (France) and now for Universidad Católica (UC - Chile). 
  • Andrés Guesalaga
    Engineer UC (Chile); Ph.D., University of Manchester (UK). Full Professor, Electrical Engineering UC (Chile). 
  • Boris Ayancán
    Electronic Engineer Universidad Austral (Chile). 10 years of professional expertise in electronics, parallel computing architectures, telecommunications and optics. Currently in charge of the adaptive optics bench at Universidad Católica (UC - Chile)


For further information and for registration, please contact : cbechetp - at - ing.puc.cl

Instituto de Ingeniería Matemática y Computacional - UC
Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile
Edificio Hernán Briones (2o piso)
Vicuña Mackenna 4860, Macul. Santiago, CHILE


Pictures from AO training 2017-2018


                fotoESO2018.jpg     fotoLabPUC2018.jpg     fotoLecture1-2018.jpg


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