Instrumentation Development

Adaptive Optics Development

The Adaptive Optics Laboratory at the IfA, led by Mark Chun, Christoph Baranec, and Michael Bottom, 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.

Michael Bottom is developing 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.

JeFF Kuhn

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.


Haosheng Lin

DL-NIRSP Diffraction Limited Near Infrared Spectropolarimeter

DL-NIRSP is one of the five first-light instruments for the Daniel K Inouye Solar Telescope (DKIST) on the summit of Mt a diffraction grating based integral field spectrograph currently under development by the University of Hawaii. Its purpose is to study solar magnetic fields at high spatial resolution with high spectral resolution and polarimetric accuracy. The mission of the DL-NIRSP is to flexibly provide unprecedented simultaneity and coverage of the various domains of solar remote diagnostics for a wide range of solar targets and applications.

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.  

Gigapixel Camera 1

Fig 3 from Chambers et al. 2016. Gigapixel Camera 1 focal plane layout and mask. The non-functioning cells are blanked out in white.

PS1 GPC1 camera & PS2 GPC2 camera

The Gigapixel Camera #1 (GPC1), which uses 60 Orthogonal Transfer Arrays devices, is mounted in the focal plane of the PS1 telescope. It has a field-of-view of about 7 square degrees, with a pixel scale of 0.258 “/pixel.

Institute for Astronomy

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