• Aeronautics - Aerospace - Defence
  • Complex systems and software engineering

Astrophysics Division // UMR Astrophysics Instrumentation Modelisation

Research unit


DAp (Astrophysics Division), a joint research unit within Irfu, is an internationally recognized major space laboratory.
It is heavily involved in numerous research projects covering the fields of astrophysics, instrumentation and numerical simulation. In particular, the laboratory realizes and exploits instruments installed on large telescopes or on-board in space (in low orbit, at Lagrangian points, around Saturn, ...) within the framework of the space or bilateral missions. The DAp also has access to the largest computers in Europe for its numerical simulations based on the multi-scale analysis (from the scale of planets to galaxy clusters) which make it possible to trace the structure of the universe over time. The laboratory also relies on advanced technical expertise in the field of system architecture, quality, electronics and spatial spectro-imagers.


  • Mr Pierre-Olivier LAGAGE

Innovation themes

Map and access

Route de l'Orme aux Merisiers
CEA - Saclay, Bâtiment 709

Our research areas


- planets formation
- stellar and laboratory plasmas
- relativistic plasmas and compact objects
- interstellar plasmas and star formation
- structuring of the universe (history of the formation of stars, galaxies, clusters of galaxies)

Applications sectors

  • Other business
  • Aeronautics / Aerospace
  • Electronic / photonics

Total number of employees

Total number of employees : 150
Number of researchers : 100
Number of doctoral students : 30

Equipment(s) open to collaboration

Academics and industry:
The provision of detectors, subsystems or instruments for space missions requires, in addition to specific skills, components and procedures, infrastructure for assembly, integration, testing, calibration and characterization well-suited to the conditions space.
For the development of these space instruments, the Astrophysics Division has access to:
- an instrumental assembly hall of 100m2 equipped with a 10 tons bridge crane
- 3 clean rooms:
+ 140 m2 at building 713-RDC: ISO8 clean rooms with 2 PSM ISO5 streams, dedicated to the integration of detectors and focal plane instruments
+ 150 m2 at building 713-1er: ISO 7 room dedicated to space metrology, integration and characterization of electronic boards
+ 6 m2 in building 713-DRC: ISO5 room dedicated to the integration of instruments
- sub-kelvin cryogenic test platforms, used for astronomy in submillimetric and X-ray domains for photometric, spectrophotometric or electrical characterization
- cryogenic test platforms (from 4K to 77K) used for the visible, near, middle, and far Infrared, and submillimetric domains for optical or spectrometric characterization
- ambient temperature test platforms used for Compton imagind and spectro-imaging, and masked in the X-ray and gamma-ray domains.
- thermal enclosures for testing, thermal cycling instruments and materials, for process qualification, for degassing


Our results

Projects examples

Industrial and scientific relations

Scientific collaborations

- France: TGIR (CERN, GANIL), CNES, institutes of CNRS (INSU and IN2P3) - Europe: european intergovernmental organisations (CERN, ESA, ESO), european coordinations (APEC, NUPECC, ASTRONET), Germany (DESY, GSI), Spain (CIEMAT), Italy (INFN, ENEA) - International: TGIR (FAIR, XFEL, IFMIF, ESO observatories, ESA spatial observatories), USA (FERMILAB, JLAB, Stanford and NASA), Canada (SNOLAB), Japan (KEK, JAEA et RIKEN), Israel (Soreq NRC, affiliated to IAEC)


Establishments of affiliation