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Our team at the University of Padova and the INAF-Astronomical Observatory of Padova is engaged in the investigation of very high time resolution astrophysical phenomena in the optical band, down to the limit of Quantum Optics. To this purpose, since 2005 we design, construct and operate instruments with very high time resolution for applications to optical fast photon counting of astrophysical sources and to Quantum Astronomy. This project is registered in the "Portale Schede Attività di Ricerca INAF" under the name "Fast Photon Counting Optical Astronomy" (FPC-OA).

The instruments

Two instruments were built, capable of achieving sub-nanosecond temporal accuracy in the optical band, AQUEYE+ (Asiago QUantum EYE) and IQUEYE (Italian QUantum EYE). They represent the world recognized leading astronomical instruments for the shortest time scales in visible light. They couple the ultra-high time resolution of Single Photon Avalanche Photodiode (SPAD) detectors with a split-pupil optical concept and a sophisticated timing system. The high quantum efficiency and low temporal jitter, the capability to time tag and store the arrival time of each individual photon with better than 100 ps relative time resolution (less than 0.5 ns absolute time accuracy with respect to UTC), and the possibility to bin the light curve in post-processing in arbitrary time intervals, give Aqueye+ and Iqueye unprecedented capabilities for performing timing studies in the optical band. AQUEYE+ is regularly mounted at the 1.8m Copernicus telescope and IQUEYE at the 1.2m Galileo telescope in Asiago. IQUEYE was mounted also at the NTT telescope in Chile, and at the WHT and TNG telescopes on the Roque (La Palma, Canary Islands). We started a technological program dedicated to interfacing the two instruments with the telescopes by means of optical fibers. IQUEYE is already successfully fiber-fed at the Galileo telescope by means of the Iqueye Fiber Interface (IFI).

Observing programmes

The observing programmes presently active include:

  • Simultaneous multicolor observations of optical pulsars
  • Timing of optical transients and counterparts of binary systems with compact objects
  • Searches for prompt/delayed optical flashes from Fast Radio Bursts and Magnetars
  • Monitoring the intranight variability of Blazars
  • Lunar and asteroidal occultations
  • Stellar intensity interferometry experiments

    The observations are often carried out within the framework of multiwavelength campaigns, in synergy with facilities operating from the radio up to the gamma-ray bands.

    The AQUEYE+IQUEYE team

    Coordination, scientific utilization
    Luca Zampieri, Giampiero Naletto

    Instrument design, realization, technological development
    Cesare Barbieri, Giampiero Naletto, Luca Zampieri

    Instrument optics and optomechanics
    Luigi Lessio, Giampiero Naletto, Gabriele Umbriaco, Luca Zampieri

    Acquisition electronics and instrument software
    Michele Fiori, Luca Zampieri

    Technical support and operations at telescopes
    Luigi Lessio, Paolo Ochner, Gabriele Umbriaco

    Operational support
    Thomas Forte, Aldo Frigo, Marco Mosele, Luciano Traverso, Giovanni Costa, Alessandro Siviero, Marco Fiaschi (MFC Elettronica, Padova)

    Photometric and spectroscopic follow-up
    Ulisse Munari, Paolo Ochner

    Michele Fiori, Giampiero Naletto, Luca Zampieri

    Science data processing
    Aleksandr Burtovoi, Michele Fiori, Luca Zampieri

    Science team
    C. Barbieri (University of Padova)
    M. Barbieri (University of Atacama, Copiapo, Chile)
    T. Belloni (INAF-Astronomical Observatory of Brera-Merate)
    A. Burtovoi (INAF-Astrophysical Observatory of Arcetri)
    P. Casella (INAF-Astronomical Observatory of Rome)
    T. Cassanelli (University of Chile, Chile)
    M. Fiori (INAF-Astronomical Observatory of Padova)
    A. Miraval Zanon (INAF-Astronomical Observatory of Rome)
    U. Munari (INAF-Astronomical Observatory of Padova)
    G. Naletto (University of Padova)
    T. Occhipinti (Adaptica, Padova)
    A. Papitto (INAF-Astronomical Observatory of Rome)
    A. Richichi (INAF-Astronomical Observatory of Arcetri, Florence)
    C. Sigismondi (International Center of Relativistic Astrophysics, Rome)
    A. Spolon (University of Padova)
    E. Verroi (TIFPA, Trento)
    L. Zampieri (INAF-Astronomical Observatory of Padova)
    P. Zoccarato (ESA)

    Teaching, training and outreach
    Giampiero Naletto, Paolo Ochner, Luca Zampieri

    e-mail: Aqueye+Iqueye Team

    Project funded from: University of Padova, INAF-Astronomical Observatory of Padova, Ministero dell'Istruzione, dell'Università e della Ricerca, Fondazione Cassa di Risparmio di Padova e Rovigo, Fondazione Banca Popolare di Marostica-Volksbank

  • Last update: Apr 13, 2023 - L. Zampieri