Antoine is interested in the transit spectroscopy of exoplanets. His work is mainly about anticipating the first data coming from the NIRISS instrument (Near InfraRed Imager and Slitless Spectrograph) of the James Webb Space Telescope. NIRISS will provide the oportunity to probe the atmosphere of Earth-like exoplanets through the observation of their transmission spectrum, which is the light decomposed in wavelength that has passed through their atmosphere. It will then be possible to detect the chemical signature of specific elements, such as water vapor and carbon dioxyde, and potentially to identify some biosignatures (chemical signatures of life as we know it) like dioxygene or methane. To do such observational feats, all the available information given by the spectrum needs to be extracted. However, when it gets to the detector of the instrument, some parts of the signal merge together. With the help of his supervisors, Prof. René Doyon and Prof. David Lafrenière, Antoine will need to use advanced image processing techniques in order to develop some algorithms that will be able to distinguish these signals.
The James Webb Space Telescope will be launched in 2018 to attain de L2 Lagrange point. The first data should be available by 2019, so it will give the opportunity for Antoine to apply the reduction algorithms to real observations. He will then have the chance to be one of the first to use this telescope to probe the atmosphere of exoplanets, carefully selected by his iREx colleagues.
Before working on exoplanets, Antoine obtained a bachelor degree in mathematics and physics and then completed a master degree in astrophysics at Université de Montréal, under the supervision of Pr Pierre Bergeron. His master thesis on the statistical study of white dwarfs led him to frequently use the spectrograph of the Obervatoire du Mont-Mégantic. The treatment of the spectroscopic data of more than 50 stars gave him the expertise to develop the image processing algorithms that will be needed for the NIRISS instrument.
René Doyon, David Lafrenière