He Sun 孙赫

I am a postdoctoral researcher at Caltech CMS, working with Prof. Katie Bouman. My research focuses on computational imaging and adaptive optics, where multidisciplinary ideas, including optics, control, signal processing and machine learning, are applied.

I received my PhD in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering from Princeton in 2019, advised by Prof. N. Jeremy Kasdin. My PhD thesis is about space telescope's adaptive optics system for high-contrast exoplanet imaging. I previously received my B.Eng. degree in Engineering Mechanics and B.A. degree in Economics from Peking University in 2014.

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Wavefront Sensing and Control (WFSC)
WFSC, or so-called adaptive optics (AO), is a control system that removes the wavefront aberrations in telescope systems. They are very important in the large ground-based telescopes (e.g. Subaru, Keck) and the next-generation space telescopes (e.g. WFIRST, Habex, LUVOIR) to maintain the high contrast created by coronagraph for faint exoplanets imaging. I contribute to this project in terms of both software and hardware. Recent accomplishments include the applications of adaptive control and optimal experiment design to improve the control system's efficiency, and the development of a broadband imager, an high-contrast integral field spectrograph (HCIFS).
Motion Planning for Autonomous Vehicles
Collaborating with research scientists from Mitsubishi Electric Research Laboratories (MERL), we proposed a novel approach to improve the efficiency of motion planning algorithms by learning heuristics using a deep neural network. Using robotic cars, we experimentally compared this new approach with other search-based planning algorithms (e.g. A*, D*) and sampling-based algorithms (e.g. RRT, RRT* and two-stage RRT). This research mainly considers the motion planning for automated parking, where the car moves slow but the enviroment is very complicated. Click here to see particle filter planning demos from MERL.

Work Experience


  • Reviewer for J. Astron. Telesc. Instrum. Syst., Journal of Automatica Sinica
  • Member of the Priorities Committee (budgeting committee) of Princeton University, 2017-2018


  • MAE433 Automatic Control System, Princeton University, Fall 2018
  • MAE206 Introduction to Engineering Dynamics, Princeton University, Spring 2018
  • MAE341 Space Flight, Princeton University, Fall 2017
  • MAE305/MAT391 Mathematics in Engineering, Princeton University, Fall 2016


  • Best paper for observation technologies and systems, IEEE Aerospace Conference, 2019
  • Britt and Eli Harari Fellowship, Princeton University, 2018
  • SEAS Award for Excellence, Princeton University, 2017
  • ExxonMobil Scholarship, Peking University, 2013
  • Scholarships for Students in Japan, JASSO, 2013
  • Boeing Scholarship, Peking University, 2012


Efficient wavefront sensing for space-based adaptive optics
He Sun, N. Jeremy Kasdin, Robert Vanderbei
Preprint, 2019
Sequential generalized likelihood ratio test for planet detection with photon-counting mode
Mengya Hu, He Sun, N. Jeremy Kasdin
Proceedings of SPIE, 2019
Modern wavefront control for space-based exoplanet coronagraph imaging
He Sun, Jessica Gersh-Range, N. Jeremy Kasdin
IEEE Aerospace Conference, 2019, Track Best Paper Award
Learning Heuristic for Mobile Robot Path Planning Using Deep Neural Network
Takeshi Takahashi, He Sun, Dong Tian, Yebin Wang
International Conference on Automated Planning and Scheduling (ICAPS), 2019
Identification and adaptive control of a high-contrast focal plane wavefront correction system
He Sun, N. Jeremy Kasdin, Robert Vanderbei
Journal of Astronomical Telescopes, Instruments, and Systems, 2018
Neural network control of the high-contrast imaging system
He Sun, N. Jeremy Kasdin
Proceedings of SPIE, 2018
First light of the High Contrast Integral Field Spectrograph (HCIFS)
Christian Delacroix, He Sun, Michael Galvin, Mary Anne Limbach, Tyler Groff, Maxime Rizzo, Matthew Grossman, Katherine Mumm, and N. Jeremy Kasdin
Proceedings of SPIE, 2018
Identification of the focal plane wavefront control system using EM algorithm
He Sun, N Jeremy Kasdin, Robert Vanderbei
Proceedings of SPIE, 2017
Improved high-contrast wavefront controllers for exoplanet coronagraphic imaging systems
He Sun, N Jeremy Kasdin, Robert Vanderbei, A.J. Eldorado Riggs, Tyler Groff
Proceedings of SPIE, 2017

Last updated: by He Sun.