The TIKI instrument is a next generation 10-micron cryogenic extreme adaptive optics (ExAO) imager being designed for the Gemini South telescope. Its goal is to detect the thermal emission of Earth-like planets in orbit around Alpha Centauri A or B. TIKI is also a prototype for future TMT instruments capable of imaging Earth- like planets around a larger star sample, and performing low spectral resolution characterization to search for biomarkers on detected planets. The science module will operate at cryogenic temperature in order to minimize thermal background, dominant in the 10-micron wavelength range. The instrument will use Adaptive Optics, a vortex coronagraph, focal plane wavefront sensing, and advanced post-processing techniques to reach a 1E-7 contrast in less than 200 hours of observing time. It aims to be background-limited in the 2-5λ/D zone, which corresponds to the habitable zone around the two Sun-like stars of the Alpha Centauri system. In this paper, we give an overview of the project goals, present TIKI's conceptual optical design, and summarize preliminary simulation results.
With the imminent launch of the JWST, the field of thermal-infrared (TIR) astronomy will enjoy a revolution. It is easy to imagine that all areas of infrared (IR) astronomy will be greatly advanced, but perhaps impossible to conceive of the new vistas that will be opened. To allow both follow-up JWST observations and a continuance of work started on the ground-based 8m’s, we continue to plan the science cases and instrument design for a TIR imager and spectrometer for early operation on the TMT. We present the current status of our science cases and the instrumentation plans, harnessing expertise across the TMT partnership. This instrument will be proposed by the MICHI team as a second-generation instrument in any upcoming calls for proposals.
We present results from a cryogenic characterization of the grating vector Apodizing Phase Plate (gvAPP) coro- nagraph that will be used in the upcoming instrument ERIS (Enhanced Resolution Imager and Spectrograph) at the VLT. ERIS consists of a 1-5 μm imager (NIX) and a 1 2.5 μm integral field spectrograph (SPIFFIER), both fed by the Adaptive Optics Facility of UT4 to yield diffraction-limited spatial resolution. A gvAPP coronagraph will be included in the NIX imager to enable high-contrast imaging observations, which will be particularly powerful for the direct imaging of exoplanets at L and M bands (~3-5 μm) and will compliment the current capabilities of VLT/SPHERE and surpass the capabilities of VLT/NACO. We utilize the near-infrared test bench of the Star and Planet Formation group at ETH Zurich to measure key properties of the gvAPP coronagraph at its operating wavelengths and under the vacuum/cryogenic (~70 K) conditions of the future ERIS instrument.