Review and scientific prospects of high-contrast optical stellar interferometry

D. Defrère, O. Absil, J. P. Berger, W. C. Danchi, C. Dandumont, F. Eisenhauer, S. Ertel, T. Gardner, A. Glauser, P. Hinz, M. Ireland, J. Kammerer, S. Kraus, L. Labadie, S. Lacour, R. Laugier, J. Loicq, G. Martin, F. Martinache, M. A. MartinodB. Mennesson, J. Monnier, B. Norris, M. Nowak, J. U. Pott, S. P. Quanz, E. Serabyn, J. Stone, P. Tuthill, J. Woillez

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


High-contrast optical stellar interferometry generally refers to instruments able to detect circumstellar emission at least a few hundred times fainter than the host star at high-angular resolution (typically within a few λ/D). While such contrast levels have been enabled by classical modal-filtered interferometric instruments such as VLTI/PIONIER, CHARA/FLUOR, and CHARA/MIRC the development of instruments able to filter out the stellar light has significantly pushed this limit, either by nulling interferometry for on-axis observations (e.g., PFN, LBTI, GLINT) or by off-axis classical interferometry with VLTI/GRAVITY. Achieving such high contrast levels at small angular separation was made possible thanks to significant developments in technology (e.g., adaptive optics, integrated optics), data acquisition (e.g., fringe tracking, phase chopping), and data reduction techniques (e.g., nulling self-calibration). In this paper, we review the current status of high-contrast optical stellar interferometry and present its key scientific results. We then present ongoing activities to improve current ground-based interferometric facilities for high-contrast imaging (e.g., Hi-5/VIKING/BIFROST of the ASGARD instrument suite, GRAVITY+) and the scientific milestones that they would be able to achieve. Finally, we discuss the long-term future of high-contrast stellar interferometry and, in particular, ambitious science cases that would be enabled by space interferometry (e.g., LIFE, space-PFI) and large-scale ground-based projects (PFI).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationOptical and Infrared Interferometry and Imaging VII
EditorsPeter G. Tuthill, Antoine Merand, Stephanie Sallum
ISBN (Electronic)9781510636798
StatePublished - 2020
Externally publishedYes
EventOptical and Infrared Interferometry and Imaging VII 2020 - Virtual, Online, United States
Duration: Dec 14 2020Dec 22 2020

Publication series

NameProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
ISSN (Print)0277-786X
ISSN (Electronic)1996-756X


ConferenceOptical and Infrared Interferometry and Imaging VII 2020
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityVirtual, Online


  • Exoplanets
  • Exozodiacal disks
  • Extrasolar planets
  • Hi-5
  • High angular resolution imaging
  • Interferometry
  • KIN
  • LBTI
  • LIFE
  • Nulling
  • PFI
  • PFN
  • Planet formation
  • Protoplanetary disks
  • VLTI

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


Dive into the research topics of 'Review and scientific prospects of high-contrast optical stellar interferometry'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this