High contrast imaging at the LBT: The LEECH exoplanet imaging survey

Andrew J. Skemer, Philip M Hinz, Simone Esposito, Michael F. Skrutskie, Denis Defrère, Vanessa Bailey, Jarron Leisenring, Daniel Apai, Beth Biller, Mickaël Bonnefoy, Wolfgang Brandner, Esther Buenzli, Laird M Close, Justin Crepp, Robert J. De Rosa, Silvano Desidera, Joshua A Eisner, Jonathan Fortney, Thomas Henning, Karl Heinz HofmannTaisiya Kopytova, Anne Lise Maire, Jared R. Males, Rafael Millan-Gabet, Katie Morzinski, Apurva Oza, Jenny Patience, Abhijith Rajan, George H. Rieke, Dieter Schertl, Joshua Schlieder, Kate Su, Amali Vaz, Kimberly Ward-Duong, Gerd Weigelt, Charles E. Woodward, Neil Zimmerman

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

21 Scopus citations


In Spring 2013, the LEECH (LBTI Exozodi Exoplanet Common Hunt) survey began its ∼130-night campaign from the Large Binocular Telescope (LBT) atop Mt Graham, Arizona. This survey benefits from the many technological achievements of the LBT, including two 8.4-meter mirrors on a single fixed mount, dual adaptive secondary mirrors for high Strehl performance, and a cold beam combiner to dramatically reduce the telescope's overall background emissivity. LEECH neatly complements other high-contrast planet imaging efforts by observing stars at L' (3.8 μm), as opposed to the shorter wavelength near-infrared bands (1-2.4 μm) of other surveys. This portion of the spectrum offers deep mass sensitivity, especially around nearby adolescent (∼0.1-1 Gyr) stars. LEECH's contrast is competitive with other extreme adaptive optics systems, while providing an alternative survey strategy. Additionally, LEECH is characterizing known exoplanetary systems with observations from 3-5μm in preparation for JWST.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
ISBN (Print)9780819496164
Publication statusPublished - 2014
EventAdaptive Optics Systems IV - Montreal, Canada
Duration: Jun 22 2014Jun 27 2014


OtherAdaptive Optics Systems IV



  • adaptive optics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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

Cite this

Skemer, A. J., Hinz, P. M., Esposito, S., Skrutskie, M. F., Defrère, D., Bailey, V., ... Zimmerman, N. (2014). High contrast imaging at the LBT: The LEECH exoplanet imaging survey. In Proceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering (Vol. 9148). [91480L] SPIE. https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2057277