Clio: A 3-5 micron AO planet-finding camera

Suresh Sivanandam, Phil M. Hinz, Ari N. Heinze, Melanie Freed, Andrew H. Breuninger

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

37 Scopus citations


Clio is an adaptive-optics camera mounted on the 6.5 meter MMT optimized for diffraction-limited L' and M-band imaging over a ∼ 15″ field. The instrument was designed from the ground up with a large well-depth, fast readout thermal infrared (∼ 3 - 5μm) 320 by 256 pixel InSb detector, cooled optics, and associated focal plane and pupil masks (with the option for a coronograph) to minimize the thermal background and maximize throughput. When coupled with the MMT's adaptive secondary AO (two warm reflections) system's low thermal background, this instrument is in a unique position to image nearby warm planets, which are the brightest in the L' and M-band atmospheric windows. We present the current status of this recently commissioned instrument that performed exceptionally during first light. Our instrument sensitivities are impressive and are sky background limited: for an hour of integration, we obtain an L'-band 5 σ detection limit of of 17.0 magnitudes (Strehl ∼ 90%) and an M-band limit of 14.5 (Strehl ∼ 90%). Our M-band sensitivity is lower due to the increase in thermal sky background. These sensitivities translate to finding relatively young planets five times Jupiter mass (M Jup) at 10 pc within a few AU of a star. Presently, a large Clio survey of nearby stellar systems is underway including a search for planets around solar-type stars, M dwarfs, and white dwarfs. Even with a null result, we can place strong constraints on planet distribution models.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationGround-based and Airborne Instrumentation for Astronomy
StatePublished - Oct 9 2006
EventGround-based and Airborne Instrumentation for Astronomy - Orlando, FL, United States
Duration: May 25 2006May 29 2006

Publication series

NameProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
Volume6269 I
ISSN (Print)0277-786X


OtherGround-based and Airborne Instrumentation for Astronomy
CountryUnited States
CityOrlando, FL



  • Adaptive optics
  • Extra-solar planets
  • High-contrast imaging
  • Infrared instrumentation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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

Cite this

Sivanandam, S., Hinz, P. M., Heinze, A. N., Freed, M., & Breuninger, A. H. (2006). Clio: A 3-5 micron AO planet-finding camera. In Ground-based and Airborne Instrumentation for Astronomy [62690U] (Proceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering; Vol. 6269 I).