The majority of my research is focused on developing new high resolution spectrometers to search for extra-solar planets orbiting nearby stars. These spectrometers rely on ultra-stable operation to measure the minute Doppler radial velocity ‘wobble’ of stars due to unseen orbiting planets.



I am a co-investigator on the Habitable-zone Planet Finder instrument, which is an NSF-funded near-infrared, high resolution spectrometer designed to detect low mass planets orbiting nearby M-dwarfs. The instrument is currently under development at Penn State University and will be delivered to the 10-meter Hobby Eberly Telescope in Summer 2017. HPF has a goal of 1 m s-1 measurement precision, representing a significant improvement over previous near-infrared Doppler instruments.

The Habitable-zone Planet Finder instrument (Mahadevan et al. 2014). Left: Rendering of the HPF cryostat and opto-mechanics, showing the full optical train and thermal cooling system (Hearty et al. 2016). Right: HPF optical diagram. The core spectrometer spans the majority of the z/Y/J spectral bands (820 – 1300 nm) at high spectral resolution (R~50,000).



I am a co-investigator on the NEID spectrograph, which is a high resolution optical instrument for the 3.5 meter WIYN telescope. NEID is designed to achieve ~25 cm s-1 measurement precision on bright stars, opening an entirely new exoplanet discovery space. NEID is currently being developed at Penn State University, and is a partnership between PSU, University of Pennsylvania, NIST Boulder, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, and MacQuarie University. As part of the NASA/NSF NN-Explore program, NEID will be delivered to the WIYN telescope in Fall 2018.

The Extreme Precision Doppler Spectrometer ‘NEID’. Left: Rendering of the NEID instrument, showing the vacuum vessel and opto-mechanical components (Robertson et al. 2016). Right: Schematic of the NEID optical train (Schwab et al. 2016). NEID spans the full 380 – 930 nm passband on a single 9k x 9k CCD with high spectral resolution (R~100,000).


Other projects: Under construction