The 2020 Nobel Prize in Physics was awarded to Reinhard GENZEL and Andrea GHEZ for the discovery of a supermassive black hole at the centre of our galaxy. This prize rewards the theoretical research as well as the unprecedented technological advances that made this discovery possible. This was achieved by using the largest telescopes, equipped with NAOMI and GRAVITY interferometry instruments developed in collaboration with French laboratories and industrials.
ALPAO, a world leader in the field of deformable mirrors and adaptive optics, has contributed, from its creation, to the development of the largest astrophysics instruments. NAOMI was fitted with ALPAO deformable mirrors. These have increased the performance and robustness of this instrument by cancelling out the effects of atmospheric turbulence. ALPAO is now collaborating with the Reinhard GENZEL Nobel Prize team at the Max Planck Institute and the IPAG (CNRS/UGA) laboratory to install new deformable mirrors in the GRAVITY instrument.
Reinhard GENZEL stressed the importance of the European effort throughout the project, especially with regards to the major French contribution to the development of adaptive optics and interferometry.
“The entire ALPAO team is extremely proud to be, once again, associated with such a prestigious award. After the results obtained in the field of microscopy by the Nobel Prize Eric BETZIG, who described adaptive optics as the future of microscopy, our astrophysics projects are now highlighted. We are proud to associate our partners and suppliers to these great discoveries, as they can be considered as an essential element of this community of technological excellence put forward by Professor Reinhard GENZEL” said Julien CHARTON, ALPAO Chief Technical Officer.