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Published December 2020 | Accepted Version
Journal Article Open

MKID Exoplanet Camera for Subaru SCExAO


We present the MKID Exoplanet Camera (MEC), a z through J band (800–1400 nm) integral field spectrograph located behind The Subaru Coronagraphic Extreme Adaptive Optics (SCExAO) at the Subaru Telescope on Maunakea that utilizes Microwave Kinetic Inductance Detectors (MKIDs) as the enabling technology for high contrast imaging. MEC is the first permanently deployed near-infrared MKID instrument and is designed to operate both as an IFU, and as a focal plane wavefront sensor in a multi-kHz feedback loop with SCExAO. The read noise free, fast time domain information attainable by MKIDs allows for the direct probing of fast speckle fluctuations that currently limit the performance of most high contrast imaging systems on the ground and will help MEC achieve its ultimate goal of reaching contrasts of 10⁻⁷ at 2 λ/D. Here we outline the instrument details of MEC including the hardware, firmware, and data reduction and analysis pipeline. We then discuss MEC's current on-sky performance and end with future upgrades and plans.

Additional Information

© 2020 The Astronomical Society of the Pacific. Received 2020 September 16; accepted 2020 October 29; published 2020 November 17. Sarah Steiger and Neelay Fruitwala are supported by a grant from the Heising-Simons Foundation. Kristina K. Davis is supported by the NSF Astronomy and Astrophysics Postdoctoral Fellowship program under award number 1801983. Jennifer P. Smith and Nicholas Zobrist are both supported by a NASA Space Technology Research Fellowship. Isabel Lipartito is supported by the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship under grant number 1650114. Frantz Martinache is funded by the European Research Council (ERC) under the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation program (grant agreement CoG—683029). The development of SCExAO was supported by the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (Grant-in-Aid for Research #23340051, #26220704, #23103002, #19H00703 & #19H00695), the Astrobiology Center of the National Institutes of Natural Sciences, Japan, the Mt. Cuba Foundation and the director's contingency fund at Subaru Telescope. The authors wish to recognize and acknowledge the very significant cultural role and reverence that the summit of Maunakea has always had within the indigenous Hawaiian community, and are most fortunate to have the opportunity to conduct observations from this mountain.

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Accepted Version - 2010.12620.pdf


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August 20, 2023
October 20, 2023