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Paper Abstract

Complex non-linear and dynamic processes lie at the heart of the planet formation process. Through numerical simulation and basic observational constraints, the basics of planet formation are now coming into focus. High resolution imaging at a range of wavelengths will give us a glimpse into the past of our own solar system and enable a robust theoretical framework for predicting planetary system architectures around a range of stars surrounded by disks with a diversity of initial conditions. Only long-baseline interferometry can provide the needed angular resolution and wavelength coverage to reach these goals and from here we launch our planning efforts. The aim of the Planet Formation Imager" (PFI) project is to develop the roadmap for the construction of a new near-/mid-infrared interferometric facility that will be optimized to unmask all the major stages of planet formation, from initial dust coagulation, gap formation, evolution of transition disks, mass accretion onto planetary embryos, and eventual disk dispersal. PFI will be able to detect the emission of the cooling, newlyformed planets themselves over the first 100 Myrs, opening up both spectral investigations and also providing a vibrant look into the early dynamical histories of planetary architectures. Here we introduce the Planet Formation Imager (PFI) Project ( and give initial thoughts on possible facility architectures and technical advances that will be needed to meet the challenging top-level science requirements.

Paper Details

Date Published: 24 July 2014
PDF: 10 pages
Proc. SPIE 9146, Optical and Infrared Interferometry IV, 914610 (24 July 2014); doi: 10.1117/12.2057262
Show Author Affiliations
John D. Monnier, Univ. of Michigan (United States)
Stefan Kraus, Univ. of Exeter (United Kingdom)
David Buscher, Univ. of Cambridge (United Kingdom)
J.-P. Berger, European Southern Observatory (Germany)
Christopher Haniff, Univ. of Cambridge (United Kingdom)
Michael Ireland, Australian National Univ. (Australia)
Lucas Labadie, Univ. zu Köln (Germany)
Sylvestre Lacour, Lab. d'Etudes Spatiales et d'Instrumentation en Astrophysique, CNRS, Observatoire de Paris Meudon (France)
Herve Le Coroller, Lab. d’Astrophysique de Marseille (France)
Romain G Petrov, Univ. of Nice - Sophia Antipolis (France)
Jörg-Uwe Pott, Max-Planck-Institut für Astronomie (Germany)
Stephen Ridgway, National Optical Astronomy Observatory (United States)
Jean Surdej, Univ. de Liège (Belgium)
Theo ten Brummelaar, Georgia State Univ. (United States)
Peter Tuthill, The Univ. of Sydney (Australia)
Gerard van Belle, Lowell Observatory (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 9146:
Optical and Infrared Interferometry IV
Jayadev K. Rajagopal; Michelle J. Creech-Eakman; Fabien Malbet, Editor(s)

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