Planet formation imager: Project update

John D. Monnier, Michael Ireland, Stefan Kraus, Almudena Alonso-Herrero, Amy Bonsor, Fabien Baron, Amelia Bayo, Jean Philippe Berger, Tabetha Boyajian, Andrea Chiavassa, David Ciardi, Michelle Creech-Eakman, Willem Jan De Wit, Denis Defrère, Ruobing Dong, Gaspard Duchêne, Catherine Espaillat, Alexandre Gallenne, Poshak Gandhi, Jean Francois GonzalezChris Haniff, Sebastian Hoenig, John Ilee, Andrea Isella, Eric Jensen, Attila Juhasz, Stephen Kane, Makoto Kishimoto, Wilhelm Kley, Quentin Kral, Kaitlin Kratter, Lucas Labadie, Sylvestre Lacour, Greg Laughlin, Jean Baptiste Le Bouquin, Ernest Michael, Farzana Meru, Rafael Millan-Gabet, Florentin Millour, Stefano Minardi, Alessandro Morbidelli, Chris Mordasini, Andreas Morlok, Dave Mozurkewich, Richard Nelson, Johan Olofsson, Rene Oudmaijer, Chris Packham, Claudia Paladini, Olja Panic, Romain Petrov, Benjamin Pope, Joerg Uwe Pott, Luis Henry Quiroga-Nunez, Cristina Ramos Almeida, Sean N. Raymond, Zsolt Regaly, Mark Reynolds, Stephen Ridgway, Stephen Rinehart, Matthias Schreiber, Michael Smith, Keivan Stassun, Jean Surdej, Theo Ten Brummelaar, Konrad Tristram, Neal Turner, Peter Tuthill, Gerard Van Belle, Gautum Vasisht, Alexander Wallace, Gerd Weigelt, Edward Wishnow, Markus Wittkowski, Sebastian Wolf, John Young, Ming Zhao, Zhaohuan Zhu, Sebastian Zúñiga-Fernández

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

1 Scopus citations


The Planet Formation Imager (PFI) is a near- and mid-infrared interferometer project with the driving science goal of imaging directly the key stages of planet formation, including the young proto-planets themselves. Here, we will present an update on the work of the Science Working Group (SWG), including new simulations of dust structures during the assembly phase of planet formation and quantitative detection efficiencies for accreting and non-accreting young exoplanets as a function of mass and age. We use these results to motivate two reference PFI designs consisting of a) twelve 3m telescopes with a maximum baseline of 1.2km focused on young exoplanet imaging and b) twelve 8m telescopes optimized for a wider range of young exoplanets and protoplanetary disk imaging out to the 150K H2O ice line. Armed with 4 x 8m telescopes, the ESO/VLTI can already detect young exoplanets in principle and projects such as MATISSE, Hi-5 and Heimdallr are important PFI pathfinders to make this possible. We also discuss the state of technology development needed to make PFI more affordable, including progress towards new designs for inexpensive, small field-of-view, large aperture telescopes and prospects for Cubesat-based space interferometry.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationOptical and Infrared Interferometry and Imaging VI
EditorsPeter G. Tuthill, Michelle J. Creech-Eakman, Antoine Merand
ISBN (Print)9781510619555
StatePublished - 2018
Event2018 Optical and Infrared Interferometry and Imaging VI - Austin, United States
Duration: Jun 11 2018Jun 15 2018

Publication series

NameProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
ISSN (Print)0277-786X
ISSN (Electronic)1996-756X


Other2018 Optical and Infrared Interferometry and Imaging VI
Country/TerritoryUnited States


  • Infrared interferometry
  • PFI
  • Planet formation

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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