Development and status of MAPS, the MMT AO exoPlanet characterization system

Katie M. Morzinski, Manny Montoya, Chuck Fellows, Olivier Durney, John Ford, Grant West, Andrew Gardner, Amali Vaz, Narsireddy Anugu, Emily Mailhot, Jared Carlson, Lori Harrison, Frank Gacon, Elwood Downey, Phil Hinz, Terry Jones, Jenny Patience, Suresh Sivanandam, Shaojie Chen, Masen LambAdam Butko, Siqi Liu, Tim Hardy, Buell Jannuzi

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

3 Scopus citations


We are upgrading and refurbishing the first-generation adaptive-secondary mirror (ASM)-based AO system on the 6.5-m MMT in Arizona, in an NSF MSIP-funded program that will create a unique facility specialized for exoplanet characterization. This update includes a third-generation ASM with embedded electronics for low power consumption, two pyramid wavefront sensors (optical and near-IR), and an upgraded ARIES science camera for high-resolution spectroscopy (HRS) from 1-5 µm and MMT-POL science camera for sensitive polarization mapping. Digital electronics have been incorporated into each of the 336 actuators, simplifying hub-level electronics and reducing the total power to 300 W, down from 1800 W in the legacy system-reducing cooling requirements from active coolant to passive ambient cooling. An improved internal control law allows for electronic damping and a faster response. The dual pyramid wavefront sensors allow for a choice between optical or IR wavefront sensing depending on guide star magnitude, color, and extinction. The HRS upgrade to ARIES enables crosscorrelation of molecular templates to extract atmospheric parameters of exoplanets. The combination of these upgrades creates a workhorse instrument for exoplanet characterization via AO and HRS to separate planets from their host stars, with broad wavelength coverage and polarization to probe a range of molecular species in exoplanet atmospheres.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationAdaptive Optics Systems VII
EditorsLaura Schreiber, Dirk Schmidt, Elise Vernet
ISBN (Electronic)9781510636835
StatePublished - 2020
EventAdaptive Optics Systems VII 2020 - Virtual, Online, United States
Duration: Dec 14 2020Dec 22 2020

Publication series

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


ConferenceAdaptive Optics Systems VII 2020
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityVirtual, Online


  • Adaptive optics
  • Exoplanets
  • Infrared
  • Instrumentation
  • Spectroscopy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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