Astro Photonics Lab

  • Massinissa Hadjara (Lab Leader),
  • Amokrane Berdja (Atmospheric Turbulence Consultant),
  • Alexandre Gallenne (High-Angular Resolution, Consultant), 
  • Pablo Garcia (mm/submm/FIR Astronomy), 
  • Jinhua He ( star formation,  evolved star, astrochemistry,  interferometry),
  • Xinyang Chen (OLBIn Consultant),
  • Ernest Michael (Heterodyne Consultant),
  • Marcos Diaz (Space projects consultant),
  • Rene Mendez (Binary stars Consultant),
  • Ricardo Fingers (Radio-Astronomy Consultant),
  • Romain Petrov (OLBIn Consultant),
  • Stéphane Lagarde (OLBIn Consultant),
  • Bruno Lopez (OLBIn Consultant),
  • Florentin Millour (OLBIn Consultant),
  • Lixin Yu (Webmaster),


As a new CASSACA’s Laboratory, which is dedicated to all High Angular Resolution techniques, namely:

  • Optical Long Baseline Interferometry (OLBIN),
  • Speckle interferometry,
  • Atmospheric turbulence (such as site testing campaigns),
  • Heterodyne interferometry,
  • Radiointerferometry as well,
  • Without forgetting the longterm interferometric projects that could take place in Antarctica and in Space.

CHARSAL is an extended Laboratory between two locations at the University of Chile in Santiago; (1) At Cerro Calán in the Department of Astronomy with a new laboratory, which is dedicated to optics, and (2) At Av. BeauChef in the Department of Electrical Engineering, with a laboratory, which is dedicated to photonics and electronics.

Main projetcs:

  • VERMILION: The flagship project of CHARSAL, which consists in the collaboration of Shanghai Astronomical Observatory, University of Chile, UCA University in France, European Southern Observatory and other units cooperate to test the secondgeneration terminal VERMILION (JHKbands spectrointerferometer Hierarchical Fringe Tracker HFT) for the VLTI. The scientific is to increase the current magnitude limits by 2 or 3, to observe and study supermassive black holes (SMBHs) and the BLR of active galactic nuclei (AGNs).
  • ACHILLES: A prototype of heterodyne interferometry in H band with three telescopes in order to study the process of planetary system formation in extrasolar accretion disks around young stars.
  • Site testing: With a doctor expert in atmospheric turbulence, whom CASSACA could hire soon I hope, CHARSAL could carry out ambitious site testing campaigns on its future observation sites (Cerro Ventarrones and Cerro Vicuña Mackenna), with the possibility of characterizing the strength of atmospheric turbulence as a function of the altitude (C2n (h)) thanks to a singular method.
  • FRIPON: The Fireball Recovery and InterPlanetary Observation Network (FRIPON) is an international network of 360° fisheye cameras dedicated to the observation and prediction of the trajectory of small meteorites (less than 1 meter) in order to take them before any human contamination to study the origin of life, in addition to determining which region of the asteroid belt they come from. CHARSAL, which was able to obtain a free camera for CASSACA/China here in Chile, will help with the maintenance of the cameras/equipment and the improvement of the concept. And Prof. Zhu Jin and his team (from the Beijing Astronomical Observatory) recently joined the FRIPONChile project.
  • SETLIM: The STELLar Imager [39] is interferometer project at the VLTI, which will use delay line tunnels infrastructure at its advantage. It aims is to use 13 small telescopes (of 35 cm of aperture diameter) in the visible to provide reliable and fast imaging of the surface of cool evolved stars. Our participation in this project is under discussion. Indeed, our laboratory has all the necessary equipment (optics and fibers, including 3 telescopes 35 cm in diameter), and through the intermediary of Chileans and Chinese we can provide ESO with the manpower that it misses so much, and in return the ESO could provide us with an expensive, powerful, and precise detector (for example, CMOS). This kind of project is in total adequation with VERMILION, and the other interferometric projects, where our laboratory can only gain in experience and reputation.

Others: With the RAIG team at the University of Chile, we can also collaborate on radiointerferometry projects (with Prof. Ricardo Finger and his Millimeter Wave Laboratory MWL), as well as with Prof. Marcos Diaz (with its Space and Planetary Exploration Laboratory SPEL ) on optical projects dedicated to nanosatellites, and why not on interferometric prototypes, thus preparing for the future. Without forgetting a speckleinterferometry setup to study binary star systems with Prof. Rene Mendez from the Department of Astronomy at UChile.

A Collaboration Between


CASSACA & Universidad de



Copyright © 2022 Cassaca

Comments are closed.