Since its first light at the Very Large Telescope Interferometer (VLTI), GRAVITY has reached new regimes in optical interferometry, in terms of accuracy as well as sensitivity.1 GRAVITY is routinely doing phase referenced interferometry of objects fainter than K > 17 mag, which makes for example the galactic center black hole Sagittarius A*2 detectable 90 % of the times. However from SNR calculations we are confident that even a sensitivity limit of K ~ 19 mag is possible. We therefore try to push the limits of GRAVITY by improving the observations as well as the calibration and the data reduction. This has further improved the sensitivity limit to K > 18 mag in the beginning of this year. Here we present some work we are currently doing in order to reach the best possible sensitivity.
For sensitive infra-red long-baseline interferometry, it is crucial to control the differential piston between the apertures. Classically this is achieved with a fringe tracker which measures the movement of the interferometric fringes. In this paper, we describe a new method to reconstruct the piston variation introduced by atmospheric turbulence with real-time data from adaptive optics wave-front sensing. Concurrently, the dominant wind speed vector can also be retrieved. The method is analyzed in simulation for atmospheric turbulence of various strength, and wind vectors varying with layer altitude. The results from the simulations show that this method could help to reliably retrieve the piston variation and wind speed from wavefront sensor data. The method is related to concepts of predictive control AO algorithms and reconstruction of the point spread function.