The recent successes of the network of institutes involved in the European Initiative for Interferometry have confirmed a steady worldwide leadership and powerful capabilities for this astrophysical field. The coordination of actions during the FP6 leads to the birth of a truly European interferometric community. Starting from 3 national expertise centres, a network of more than 20 institutes spread over 14 countries is now well established. More than 100 persons, not only experts in interferometric instrumentation but also specialized astrophysicists of many research fields are now involved, with a very important fraction of young scientists.
PI: Denis MOURARD, CNRS-F
With the VLTI, we already obtain unique science and great results. Since 2002 the VLTI has produced about 50% of all science papers using interferometers. However, more and better ones are within reach with continuing efforts. The European groups are also involved in other interferometric projects or facilities such as ‘OHANA at Mauna Kea (HI, USA), CHARA at Mount Wilson (CA, USA) or the LBTI at Mount Graham (AZ, USA). These groups participate actively to the long term studies around the DARWIN mission or future ground based optical very large arrays such as OVLA, KEOPS, CARLINA or ELSA. The gathered experience helps to identify the focused and coordinated actions for enhancing the scientific output of Interferometry and for reaching the fundamental sensitivity limits. The work packages described below will be greatly complemented by the networking activities on astrophysics and prospective.