Optolab Internships: Nicolás Hernández in Maseille, France

Nicolás Hernández, a member of Optolab, traveled to France in 2023 to work at the Laboratory of Astrophysics of Marseille (LAM) alongside Jorge Tapia, a postdoctoral researcher.

Nicolás has been part of Optolab since March 2022, currently pursuing a Master’s in Engineering Sciences with a focus on Electrical Engineering at EIE PUCV. He also is teaching a class at EIE.

In 2023, he flew to France with part of the team to attend the AO4ELT conference, where he presented his research in poster format. Part of this trip also involved spending approximately a month sharing knowledge and addressing queries with Dr. Benoit Neichel’s team at LAM, where he also encountered another team member, Camilo Weinberger, whose experience can be read here.

How did the opportunity for this internship arise?

I attended two conferences, one on lasers in Marseille and another on adaptive optics in Avignon. After that, I stayed to work at LAM, mainly to finish projects I was working on with Professor Esteban, Felipe, Jorge, and Camilo. That work is now completed, and we should have news about its status soon.

It involves designing a diffractive element used in a pyramidal sensor to remove sensor modulation. The goal is that without modulation, there are significant savings in calibration, alignment, and movable physical parts. So, the diffractive element would need to be placed on the same plane as the pyramid, saving all the mentioned aspects.

What stands out from your experience?

What caught my attention the most is that LAM is almost like an institute or an entire faculty dedicated solely to research. They have different research areas and numerous experimental laboratories, allowing research in multiple areas.

Camilo, Jorge and Nicolás at LAM.

I was able to establish relationships with one of the great researchers we collaborate with and learn about the optical setups they have there.

Would you like to undertake a more extensive internship there in the future?

I would like to return and work at LAM. They have a high level in the area we work in here, so it can be very beneficial in terms of knowledge and learning, Nicolás noted.

Following this internship, Nicolás and Jorge had the opportunity to go to Germany to visit part of the facilities of the European Southern Observatory (ESO). We will soon be sharing more about the visit.