Detection and characterization of exoplanets pose formidable observational challenges, as planets are orders of magnitudes fainter, less massive and smaller than the stars they orbit. Multiple detection techniques exist, all relying on the high accuracy measurement of stellar light (flux, spectra, position or wavefront). Astrophotonic technologies for light creation, shaping and detection are essential to meet these challenges. While current detection and characterization techniques are suitable for giant (Jupiter-like) planets, potentially habitable Earth-sized rocky planets are considerably more challenging to observe. Recent advances in astrophotonics hold the key to characterization of these smaller planets, and to the remote identification of biomarkers indicative of life.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics