ABB and Prof. Laurent Drissen of Universite Laval Honored with 2017 Synergy Award for Innovative New Instrument

Measures distant objects and phenomena in space with unprecedented accuracy

ABB announced today that its collaborative partnership with Université Laval for the SITELLE project as well as all previous projects such as SpIOMM have been recognized by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) with a 2017 Synergy Award for Innovation.

The prestigious award was presented to Dr. Laurent Drissen (Université Laval) and Dr. Frederic Grandmont (ABB Measurement & Analytics) by David Johnston, Governor General of Canada, during a on February 7 at Rideau Hall. The award winners spent much of the day at the Canadian Parliament where they met with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science, and Mario Pinto, president of NSERC.

The annual Synergy Awards for Innovation recognize examples of collaboration that stand as a model of effective partnership between industry and colleges or universities. Laurent Drissen, professor at Department of Physics, Physical Engineering and Optics and Astrophysics Research Group partnered with ABB with the ambitious goal of building a new instrument that would allow astronomers to see distant phenomena with incredible details.

In 2005, Laurent Drissen and ABB had introduced the SpIOMM imaging Fourier transform spectrometer, a device with a telescope from the Mont-Mégantic Observatory, allowing to see the spectrum of every source of light in a field of view a hundred times larger than other spectrometers. Drissen and ABB's new technology were so impressive they were soon commissioned to build a second instrument, even more powerful than the SITELLE device, now used by astronomers at the Canada–France–Hawaii (CFHT) telescope in Hawaii.

"Investments in research and development are a big deal here, and help to create the economy of tomorrow. Our goal was to make a breakthrough in astronomy. We wanted to demonstrate that with the technology we had in Fourier transform, we could produce a technological shift that would benefit the scientific community." said Marc Corriveau, General Manager at ABB Measurement & Analytics, Quebec, Canada in the Synergy Award video.

SITELLE started scientific operations at the CFHT on March 3, 2016. It is the most complicated instrument to be operated in Queued Service Observations at CFHT. The instrument has the capabilities of both an imager and a spectrograph and generates millions of spectra during a single scan. There are very few instruments in the world that are capable of achieving this.

"The fact that SITELLE is accessible to researchers from different countries across the world is also very important. We didn't want a device that was just built for us, for our team. The more people across the world that will use it, the better it will be for us, for ABB, and for the larger scientific community as well." mentioned Laurent Drissen in the Synergy Award video.

For more details about the Award:

Follow SITELLE adventures by reading these scientific publications relating its discovery:

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