The race for high angular resolution dates back to the introduction of optics in astronomical instruments at the beginning of the seventeenth century. However, it was Fizeau, in 1868, who first had the idea of using interferometry to increase the resolution of a telescope. The first measurement of stellar diameter was done in 1920 - with an interferometer that Michelson had installed on the giant 100-inch telescope of Mount Wilson.
In the 1970’s, Antoine Labeyrie had the idea of replacing Michelson’s interferometer –that required a very large telescope– by several small telescopes using interferometry. In 1974, while at the observatory of Nice, A. Labeyrie succeeded in making the light of a star captured by two small telescopes to interfere for the first time. This led the way to his “interferometer with two telescopes” (I2T) and then to the current large interferometers of Chile and Hawai.
Established on January 1st 2000 under the chair of observational astrophysics of the Collège de France, hold by A. Labeyrie since 1990, the “Laboratoire pour l’Interférométrie Stellaire et Exoplanétaire”, known by its acronym LISE, specializes in instrumental development in the field of high-angular-resolution astronomical imaging, as well as the ultrasensitive observations made possible by these new instruments.