Research

The aim of my PhD is to search for new pulsars, an uncommon type of star with unique physical properties, outside our galaxy, the Milky Way. You can find our latest discoveries here!

MeerKAT MeerKAT — I have conducted the first pulsar and Fast Radio Burst survey of nearby galaxies in the radio band with the MeerKAT telescope, a radio dish interferometer in South Africa. The MeerKAT telescope is a precursor of the future Square Kilometer Array, an international project to build the largest radio interferometer ever. MeerKAT is located in South Africa, in the Karoo desert. It consists of 64 dishes, each of 14m diameter. The furthest dishes have a maximum separation of 8 km. Our team is the Nearby Galaxies working group of the MeerKAT Large Survey Project TRAPUM (TRAnsients and PUlsars with MeerKAT).
pulsar Pulsars — A pulsar is a type of neutron star. These collapsed stars are amongst the most extreme objects of the Universe - they are the fastest spinning stars (usually, they undergo one complete revolution in less than a few seconds); they are the smallest and densest stars, with approximately the mass of our Sun contained in a radius of a few tens of kilometres; and they have the strongest stellar magnetic fields. Their lighthouse-like radio beams are observed as faint radio pulses from the Earth. I am searching for such pulses coming from outside our galaxy in high time resolution observations made with MeerKAT, the most sensitive radio interferometer in the world.
possibilities What can be done with pulsars? — Since their discovery in 1967, pulsars have been a formidable “laboratory” for many fields of science. Their pulses can be better at timekeeping than atomic clocks. Any variations in the timing of these pulses can be an indicator of astrophysical processes such as gravitational waves, companion stars with relativistic dynamics, planets, etc. In addition, by extending the extragalactic sample of known pulsars, we are effectively probing the effects of another galaxy’s properties onto a neutron star population, as a valuable contrast to the Milky Way. For example, we could understand better how galactic metallicity and stellar formation history affect the formation of neutron stars. This is also of interest to the Gravitational Wave and Fast Radio Burst scientific communities.
SMC Discoveries in the Small Magellanic Cloud — I have doubled the radio pulsar population of this galaxy, with seven discoveries. Using MeerKAT and the Parkes "Murriyang" telescopes in Australia, I investigated their behaviour. I found out that three of them are "young", energetic pulsars that underwent a kind of starquake called a "glitch". I associated one of my pulsar discoveries to a known Pulsar Wind Nebula, and identified a new, rare extragalactic Pulsar Wind Nebula around another discovery. Overall, I increased the characterised population of extragalactic pulsars by 45%!
SextansA Discoveries in the Sextans A & B galaxies — I have discovered a Fast Radio Burst, a very energetic extragalactic signal of unknown origin, during this survey. I also set limits on the brightest possible signal beaming towards us from these galaxies.
SgrdSph Searching the Sagittarius Dwarf Spheroidal Galaxy — I have designed and helped start this challenging survey to find the furthest pulsars with millisecond periods in this gamma-ray emitting, globular cluster-rich galaxy.