SCExAO, an instrument with a dual purpose: Perform cutting-edge science and develop new technologies

Julien Lozi, Olivier Guyon, Nemanja Jovanovic, Sean Goebel, Prashant Pathak, Nour Skaf, Ananya Sahoo, Barnaby Norris, Frantz Martinache, Mamadou N'Diaye, Ben Mazin, Alex B. Walter, Peter Tuthill, Tomoyuki Kudo, Hajime Kawahara, Takayuki Kotani, Michael Ireland, Nick Cvetojevic, Elsa Huby, Sylvestre LacourSébastien Vievard, Tyler D. Groff, Jeffrey K. Chilcote, Jeremy Kasdin, Justin Knight, Frans Snik, David Doelman, Yosuke Minowa, Christophe Clergeon, Naruhisa Takato, Motohide Tamura, Thayne Currie, Hideki Takami, Masa Hayashi

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

42 Scopus citations


The Subaru Coronagraphic Extreme Adaptive Optics (SCExAO) instrument is an extremely modular high- contrast instrument installed on the Subaru telescope in Hawaii. SCExAO has a dual purpose. Its position in the northern hemisphere on a 8-meter telescope makes it a prime instrument for the detection and characterization of exoplanets and stellar environments over a large portion of the sky. In addition, SCExAO's unique design makes it the ideal instrument to test innovative technologies and algorithms quickly in a laboratory setup and subsequently deploy them on-sky. SCExAO benefits from a first stage of wavefront correction with the facility adaptive optics AO188, and splits the 600-2400 nm spectrum towards a variety of modules, in visible and near infrared, optimized for a large range of science cases. The integral field spectrograph CHARIS, with its J, H or K-band high-resolution mode or its broadband low-resolution mode, makes SCExAO a prime instrument for exoplanet detection and characterization. Here we report on the recent developments and scientific results of the SCExAO instrument. Recent upgrades were performed on a number of modules, like the visible polarimetric module VAMPIRES, the high-performance infrared coronagraphs, various wavefront control algorithms, as well as the real-time controller of AO188. The newest addition is the 20k-pixel Microwave Kinetic Inductance Detector (MKIDS) Exoplanet Camera (MEC) that will allow for previously unexplored science and technology developments. MEC, coupled with novel photon-counting speckle control, brings SCExAO closer to the final design of future high-contrast instruments optimized for Giant Segmented Mirror Telescopes (GSMTs).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationAdaptive Optics Systems VI
EditorsDirk Schmidt, Laura Schreiber, Laird M. Close
ISBN (Print)9781510619593
StatePublished - 2018
EventAdaptive Optics Systems VI 2018 - Austin, United States
Duration: Jun 10 2018Jun 15 2018

Publication series

NameProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
ISSN (Print)0277-786X
ISSN (Electronic)1996-756X


OtherAdaptive Optics Systems VI 2018
Country/TerritoryUnited States

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


  • Coronagraphy
  • Extreme Adaptive Optics
  • High-Contrast Imaging
  • MKID
  • Polarimetry
  • Pyramid Wavefront Sensor
  • Single-Mode Fiber Injection


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