Abstract : My research activity in astrophysics between 1990 and 2005, and the activity of the students and researchers that I directed, have been mainly centered on the study of galactic accreting black holes through astronomical observations of their high energy (X-ray and gamma-ray) emission.
The work has been carried out in the frame of the space-born astronomy projects in which my laboratory was involved, in particular within the two recent European key-projects of gamma-ray astronomy, the French-Russian mission SIGMA/GRANAT and the European Space Agency (ESA) mission INTEGRAL. My role in these projects was to develop the data analysis system and I specialized in the analysis techniques for the coded aperture systems, which were employed for
the telescopes carried by these missions. After a description of my contributions to the mission data
analysis systems I report in this manuscript the scientific programs I developed and the main results
I obtained on the two domains of black hole astrophysics to which I significantly contributed.
First of all, thanks to the data collected with SIGMA and INTEGRAL, I could develop a research program on the galactic close binary systems where a stellar mass black hole accretes matter from a companion star giving rise to X-ray/gamma-ray emission. The main result of this
work has been the detection of a high energy emission feature in the X-ray Nova of the Musca constellation. This program also led to important results, obtained with both gamma-ray and X-ray data, on 13 black holes X-ray transients (of the X-ray nova type) and 3 black hole persistent sources that I could study in the energy band from1 to 1000 keV.
Secondly I have developed a large scientific program concerning the study of the high energy emission from the super-massive black hole at the centre of our Galaxy. Thanks to the SIGMA deep survey of the Galactic Centre I could set stringent upper limits to the gamma-ray emission from this unique object. This result has led to the development of new models describing
the accretion flow in black holes. Then I discovered X-ray flares coming from the central black hole with data of the XMM-Newton observatory and more recently an INTEGRAL source coincident with the centre of the Galaxy. I discuss these results in the frame of the physics of the Galactic Centre and of the accretion and ejection processes around black holes.
Finally, I present my research program for the next years, which includes the participation to the high energy astronomy space project SIMBOL-X. This project extends, by the mean of two formation flying satellites, the technique of grazing incidence focalisation to hard X-rays with the purpose to study the non-thermal phenomena of our universe.