About me

I am a professional Astronomer at the Laboratoire d'Astrophysique de Marseille (LAM) and at Aix-Marseille University (AMU) in France.

My research interests cover exoplanetary science at large, from their demographics, their formation mechanisms, to their overall properties. I am an expert in their observations with dedicated imagers, called High-Contrast Imagers, which are complex instruments capable of suppressing most of the starlight to reveal their fainter surroundings (planets, asteroid belts...). I mostly use space telescopes (Hubble, Webb), which are most sensitive to very faint planets. This led me to work in institutes renowned for their development (STScI, JPL, Caltech, LAM). I am known in the field for my dual profile combining a solid instrument scientist background and a strong record in exoplanetary system observations. In particular, I specialized in developing powerful image processing techniques that allows us to detect planets in our data despite the glare of their star. I also specialized in the study of debris disks, asteroid belts around other stars leftover from the planet formation. My image processing methods improved the detection capabilities of the Hubble Space Telescope NICMOS imager and lead to the detection of a dozen new debris disks as part of the ALICE project. I have further caracterized some of these exoplanetary systems with Hubble, and now with the James Webb Space Telescope.

Since September 2022, I am leading the ESCAPE ERC Consolidator project, funded by the European Union (project No 101044152). This project aims at developing observing strategies and image processing methods that will let us image solar system-like exoplanets for the first time with the next generation of space telescopes. With my team, we are investigating how to best combine all available data from these instruments (archives, sensors telemetry) to estimate and remove the starlight contamination at each pixel of our images. We are also investigating how to use the active mirrors inside these instruments to probe and calibrate the evolution of the stellar patern in the images.

As part of my Astronomer's missions, I also contribute to the development of the HARMONI instrument for the Extremely Large Telescope (ELT), for which I analyze the performances to expect for its High-Contrast Module. I also teach at Aix Marseille University in the Physics Department (Europhotonics Master) and in the Computer Science Department (Image and Signal Processing Master). Supporting my communities is also important to me. As such I regularly serve in national and international committees. In particular, I am currently co-leading the ASHRA French Science Council on High Angular Resolution Astronomy, with my colleague Frantz Martinache.

ALICE Debris Disk Gallery
Gallery of debris disk discoveries with the ALICE project.
(Soummer et al. 2014, Choquet et al. 2016, 2017, 2018, Marshall et al. 2018)