Instrumentation Development

Adaptive Optics Development

The Adaptive Optics Laboratory at the IfA, led by Mark Chun and Christoph Baranec, develop innovative technologies and systems that counteract the image-blurring effect of Earth’s atmosphere.

The ‘imaka project, led by Chun, is working toward extremely large corrected fields of view at visible and near-infrared wavelengths. By correcting for the atmosphere just close to the telescope, the team has demonstrated corrected fields of view larger than previously thought possible.

Robo-AO, led by Baranec, is a fully robotic system that can observe hundreds of objects per night at near Hubble Space Telescope resolution.

Don Hall is developing a new photon-counting near-infrared detectors that are used in several adaptive optics systems: Robo-AO, the pyramid wavefront sensor for Keck, and with SCExAO at Subaru.

See also  Adaptive Optics at the Institute for Astronomy


Robo-AO laser at the UH 2.2m telescope (credit Sean Goebel)

The lifting assembly in the Maui Advanced Technology Research laboratories holding the outer shell of the cryostat  in the background. The cold-optical bench structure before radiation shielding was installed is being worked on in the foreground.

CryoNIRSP Solar Spectropolarimeter

CryoNIRSP, one of the five first-light instruments for theDaniel K Inouye Solar Telescope (DKIST) on the summit of Mt Haleakala, is currently under construction at the IfA facilities on the island of Maui. It is the only cryogenic infrared spectropolarimeter of its kind. Between wavelengths of 1-5 micron it provides high resolution and high sensitivity spectropolarimetric measurements of the Sun’s disk and corona. The 2-ton instrument will sit on the rotating coude floor of DKIST, where it will provide astronomers with their first routine measurements of the Sun’s, thus-far, mostly invisible coronal magnetic field.Jeff Kuhn (IfA/Maui) is the PI with Dr Andre Fehlmann the instrument scientist and Dr. Isabelle Scholl the project manager.

Mike Connelley

IRTF Spectrograph

Mike Connelley is designing a low resolution prism spectrograph as the next facility instrument for the IRTF.  Optimized for near-Earth asteroid characterization and transient follow-up, it has very high throughput, a 8″x8″ field of view with a image slicer IFU.  It will also have simultaneous and continuous coverage from the 350 nm to 4 microns to observe a broad range of minerals on asteroids.  

Institute for Astronomy

We are one of the largest university astronomy programs in the world.