Alexandre José Tuoto Silveira Mello completed his undergraduate and master’s degrees in electrical engineering at the Federal Technological University of Paraná. Although he initially worked in the industry, he soon realized that his passion for stargazing still thrived. A lifelong admirer of Carl Sagan, he embarked on his Ph.D. in Astrophysics at the Federal University of São Carlos (UFSC) in 2014.
Engineering, however, continues to play a crucial role in his research. Alexandre is among the few Brazilian scientists developing adaptive optics technology, a technique that is essential for large telescopes as it compensates for atmospheric turbulence in real time. He recalls the lengthy bus journeys to UFSC during his doctoral studies as a significant learning experience, as he utilized this time to further his studies.
The objective is to construct an optical bench that can emulate the conditions encountered in a telescope, even the effects induced by atmospheric turbulence on a wavefront sensor. One of the project’s goals is to devise a novel center detection technique for Shack-Hartmann wavefront sensors that is not influenced by the sodium layer profile, a limitation of existing techniques. Additionally, the project aims to develop tomographic techniques suitable for deployment in giant telescopes. Turbulence tomography is crucial for achieving a wide-field correction. However, in the context of giant telescopes, the computational challenge escalates significantly, necessitating techniques with superior computational efficiency.