Institut national de recherche scientifique français Univerité Pierre et Marie Curie Université Paris Diderot - Paris 7

An overview of the mid-infrared spectro-interferometer MATISSE : science, concept, and current status

mercredi 13 janvier 2016, par Alexis Matter (Observatoire de la CĂ´te d’Azur)

Jeudi 25 fĂ©vrier 2016 à 11h00 , Lieu : Salle de confĂ©rence du bâtiment 17

MATISSE is the second generation mid-infrared spectrograph and imager for the Very Large Telescope Interferometer (VLTI) at Paranal. This new interferometric instrument will allow significant advances by opening new avenues in various fundamental research fields : studying the planet-forming region of disks around young stellar objects, understanding the surface structures and mass loss phenomena affecting evolved stars, and probing the environments of black holes in active galactic nuclei. As a first breakthrough, MATISSE will enlarge the spectral domain of current optical interferometers by offering the L & M bands in addition to the N band. This will open a wide wavelength domain, ranging from 2.8 to 13 ÎĽm, exploring angular scales as small as 3 mas (L/M band) / 10 mas (N band). As a second breakthrough, MATISSE will allow mid-infrared imaging - closure-phase aperture-synthesis imaging - with up to four Unit Telescopes (UT) or Auxiliary Telescopes (AT) of the VLTI. Moreover, MATISSE will offer a spectral resolution range between R 30 to 5000. Here, I introduce the physical concept of MATISSE including a description of the signal on the detectors and an evaluation of the expected performances. I also present the potential of MATISSE for the study of the inner regions of protoplanetary disks, which is one of the main science cases that has driven the instrument design and motivated several VLTI upgrades (GRA4MAT & NAOMI). Finally, I discuss the current status of the instrument, which is entering its testing phase, and the foreseen schedule for the next two years that will lead to the first scientific exploitation in 2018.