DARKNESS: A Microwave Kinetic Inductance Detector Integral Field Spectrograph for High-contrast Astronomy

June 2018 • 2018PASP..130f5001M

Authors • Meeker, Seth R. • Mazin, Benjamin A. • Walter, Alex B. • Strader, Paschal • Fruitwala, Neelay • Bockstiegel, Clint • Szypryt, Paul • Ulbricht, Gerhard • Coiffard, GrĂ©goire • Bumble, Bruce • Cancelo, Gustavo • Zmuda, Ted • Treptow, Ken • Wilcer, Neal • Collura, Giulia • Dodkins, Rupert • Lipartito, Isabel • Zobrist, Nicholas • Bottom, Michael • Shelton, J. Chris • Mawet, Dimitri • van Eyken, Julian C. • Vasisht, Gautam • Serabyn, Eugene

Abstract • We present DARKNESS (the DARK-speckle Near-infrared Energy-resolving Superconducting Spectrophotometer), the first of several planned integral field spectrographs to use optical/near-infrared Microwave Kinetic Inductance Detectors (MKIDs) for high-contrast imaging. The photon counting and simultaneous low-resolution spectroscopy provided by MKIDs will enable real-time speckle control techniques and post-processing speckle suppression at frame rates capable of resolving the atmospheric speckles that currently limit high-contrast imaging from the ground. DARKNESS is now operational behind the PALM-3000 extreme adaptive optics system and the Stellar Double Coronagraph at Palomar Observatory. Here, we describe the motivation, design, and characterization of the instrument, early on-sky results, and future prospects.


IPAC Authors


Julian van Eyken

Associate Scientist