SCExAO: The first high contrast exoplanet imager on an ELT?

Julien Lozi, Nemanja Jovanovic, Olivier Guyon, Jared Males, Garima Singh, Danielle Doughty, Prashant Pathak, Sean Goebel, Tomoyuki Kudo, Frantz Martinache

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


The Subaru Coronagraphic Extreme Adaptive Optics (SCExAO) instrument, currently under development for the Subaru Telescope, optimally combines state-of-the-art technologies to study exoplanets and stellar environments at the diffraction limit, both in visible and infrared light (0.6 to 2.4 μm). The instrument already includes an ultra-fast visible pyramid wavefront sensor operating at 3.5 kHz, a 2k-actuator deformable mirror, a set of optimal coronagraphs that can work as close as 1 l/D, a low-order wavefront sensor, a high-speed speckle control loop, and two visible interferometric modules, VAMPIRES and FIRST. After the integration of the integral field spectrograph CHARIS and a Microwave Kinetic Inductance Detector (MKID) in 2016, SCExAO will be one of the most powerful and effective tools for characterizing exoplanets and disks. None of the ELTs include a high-contrast imager and spectrograph among the first generation of instruments. To address this, we propose to upgrade SCExAO and deliver it as a first light visitor instrument to the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT), a decade before the second generation instruments come online. SCExAO's flexibility assures that it will include the latest technologies when it arrives on TMT, achieving the ultimate goal of characterizing the first terrestrial planets in the habitable zones of M-type stars.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationAdaptive Optics for Extremely Large Telescopes 4 - Conference Proceedings
PublisherUniversity of California Center for Adaptive Optics
StatePublished - 2015
Event4th Adaptive Optics for Extremely Large Telescopes, AO4ELT 2015 - Lake Arrowhead, United States
Duration: Oct 26 2015Oct 30 2015


Other4th Adaptive Optics for Extremely Large Telescopes, AO4ELT 2015
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityLake Arrowhead


  • Extreme Adaptive Optics
  • Low-order wavefront sensor
  • MKID
  • Phase mask coronagraph
  • Speckle control
  • Visible interferometer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Instrumentation
  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Space and Planetary Science
  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Mechanical Engineering


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