Extreme Adaptive Optics Planet Imager: XAOPI

Bruce Macintosh, James Graham, Lisa Poyneer, Gary Sommargren, Julia Wilhelmsen, Don Gavel, Steve Jones, Paul Kalas, James Lloyd, Russ Makidon, Scot Olivier, Dave Palmer, Jennifer Patience, Marshall Perrin, Scott Severson, Andrew Sheinis, Anand Sivaramakrishnan, Mitchell Troy, Kent Wallace

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

10 Scopus citations


Ground based adaptive optics is a potentially powerful technique for direct imaging detection of extrasolar planets. Turbulence in the Earth's atmosphere imposes some fundamental limits, but the large size of ground-based telescopes compared to spacecraft can work to mitigate this. We are carrying out a design study for a dedicated ultra-high-contrast system, the eXtreme Adaptive Optics Planet Imager (XAOPI), which could be deployed on an 8-10m telescope in 2007. With a 4096-actuator MEMS deformable mirror it should achieve Strehl >0.9 in the near-IR. Using an innovative spatially filtered wavefront sensor, the system will be optimized to control scattered light over a large radius and suppress artifacts caused by static errors. We predict that it will achieve contrast levels of 10 7-10 8 at angular separations of 0.2-0.8" around a large sample of stars (R<7-10), sufficient to detect Jupiter-like planets through their near-IR emission over a wide range of ages and masses. We are constructing a high-contrast AO testbed to verify key concepts of our system, and present preliminary results here, showing an RMS wavefront error of <1.3 nm with a flat mirror.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
EditorsD.R. Coulter
Number of pages11
StatePublished - 2003
Externally publishedYes
EventTechniques and Instrumentation for Detection of Exoplants - San Diego, CA, United States
Duration: Aug 5 2003Aug 7 2003


OtherTechniques and Instrumentation for Detection of Exoplants
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Diego, CA


  • Adaptive optics
  • Extrasolar planets

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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