Interview with Jon Lawrence
Interview with Jon Lawrence

In May 2022, ALPAO was delighted to welcome Jon Lawrence and discuss about our present and future projects with Macquarie University (Australia), especially for Gemini North Adaptive Optics (GNAO) project. During his visit, he answered some questions about Adaptive Optics technology and applications but also about his feedback on ALPAO’s products.

ALPAO – In what context do you use Adaptive Optics (AO) at Macquarie University?
Prof Jon Lawrence – We use AO to improve the resolution of ground based telescope. It is a very powerful technic. We can combine the effect of the atmosphere to improve images that we obtained.

What are the major benefits of AO in astronomic field?
It improves resolution essentially it allows to collect much more details, much more data on many distance celestial sources. We can also improve the sensitivity of images which means we can go deeper further into universe.

What would you like in your dreams as next features from Adaptive Optics systems?
This can be a couple of directions First of all, extreme AO when trying to collect resolution, the diffraction limit of huge telescopes, potentially looking at imaging exoplanets for example, then visible multi-conjugated AO perhaps on extremely large telescopes.

How do you think that GNAO project could help to develop the future challenges in the AO? How to contribute on that?
The GNAO project is an important step for the Gemini telescope, it will provide versatile next generation facility for Gemini. It will enable all range of science cases through the improvement to the resolution sensitivity.

How long have you been working with ALPAO?
We’ve known ALPAO from many years. But only recently we start working with ALPAO for this Gemini project.

What advantages do you see in our products and technology in the astronomical field?
ALPAO is essential for us in this project. ALPAO is clearly the world leader in development of deformable mirror’s technology, wavefront sensing, real-time controllers. So, the advantage is that we have the world leading expert in this technology with us on our proposal.

Picture: Alexis Jarry – Area Sales Manager @ALPAO | Jon Lawrence – Head of Instrumentation @Australian Astronomical Optics-Macquarie University | Piero Bruno – Sales and Marketing Director @ALPAO


Prof Jon Lawrence is Head of Instrumentation at Australian Astronomical Optics-Macquarie University (Australia). He leads a large team of scientists, managers, engineers, and technicians working on an array of instrument projects for the world’s premier telescopes. These instrument projects bring together multiple disciplines in mechanical, optical, electronics, and software engineering with photonics and optical physics, to develop and commission leading-edge technologies to capture and analyse light from astronomical sources.