Département de physique
Université de Montréal
C.P. 6128, Succursale Centre-Ville
Canada H3C 3J7
Research field: Exoplanets; brown dwarfs; transit spectroscopy; radial velocity; high contrast imagery; instrumentation.
Description of the research project:
David Lafrenière's main research work focuses on the study of exoplanets and aims to establish the preponderance and diversity of planetary systems in our galaxy, to understand how these systems form and evolve, to comprehend the physics at work in their atmosphere and interior, and ultimately, detect traces of life elsewhere in the Universe. David Lafrenière and his research group are mainly concerned with the characterization of the atmosphere of exoplanets using transit and eclipse spectroscopy, notably with NIRISS, one of the instruments of the James Webb Space Telescope, as well as with infrared echelle spectrographs on large ground-based telescopes. With the SPIRou and NIRPS instruments, they are also involved in the radial-velocity search of new rocky planets around M-type stars. In addition, his group uses direct imaging techniques at infrared wavelengths to detect new planets, and then measure their physical properties. In order to "see" these very weak and very close planets near their host- star, several million times brighter, it is necessary to continually develop new observational and image processing techniques, even new instruments. For now, our current technology allows the detection of giant planets having orbits the size of that of outer planets of our solar system, or larger.
Prix et distinctions: