A 3-5 micron camera for extrasolar planet searches

Ari N. Heinze, Phil M. Hinz, Don W. McCarthy

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


We have designed and built an infrared camera using a Rockwell HAWAII MBE array sensitive from 1-5 microns. This camera is optimized for sensitive imaging in the 3-5 micron wavelength range, i.e. the L' and M photometric bands. When used with the deformable secondary adaptive optics (AO) system on the 6.5m MMT telescope, the camera will be ideal for direct imaging surveys for extrasolar planets around young, nearby stars. Based on the models of Burrows et al (2001), we calculate that in a 2-hour background-limited integration with MMT AO we will be able to detect, in both M and V bands, a planet of 1 billion year (Gyr) age and 5 Jupiter masses (MJ) at a distance of 10 parsecs (pc). Our simulations of atmospheric speckle noise suggest that background limited M and L' observations are possible at about 1.5 and 2.5 arcseconds, respectively, from a solar-type star at 10pc distance. The speckle limits move inward dramatically for fainter stars, and brighter planets or brown dwarfs can be seen even where the speckles overwhelm the background noise. The camera opens up a region of parameter space that is inaccessible to the radial velocity technique, and thus the two methods are highly complementary.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1154-1164
Number of pages11
JournalProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2002
EventAdaptive Optical System Technologies II - Waikoloa, HI, United States
Duration: Aug 22 2002Aug 26 2002


  • Adaptive optics
  • Adaptive secondary
  • Coronagraph
  • Extrasolar planets
  • L' band
  • M band
  • MMT
  • Nulling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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