Title: Pushing the limits of exoplanet discovery with the Keck Planet Finder
Abstract: The discovery of Earth-like exoplanets has profound implications for our understanding of the origins and diversity of life in the universe. As such, developing new and improved instruments capable of discovering and characterizing these elusive planets is a high priority within the astronomical community. I will present a scientific and technical overview of the Keck Planet Finder (KPF) - a new exoplanet-hunting instrument for the Keck I telescope currently under development at UC Berkeley, Caltech, UC Santa Cruz, and JPL. KPF is a high resolution, highly stabilized Doppler radial velocity (RV) spectrometer designed specifically to search for low-mass planets orbiting nearby stars. KPF leverages a suite of new technologies which, when combined with the collecting area of the Keck telescope, will open a unique, detailed window into the nearby exoplanet population. Characterization of these planets with precise RV measurements will be crucial for interpreting atmospheric spectra from JWST, as well as future NASA imaging missions that aim to directly image nearby terrestrial-size planets.