The science drivers for a mid-infrared instrument for the TMT

Y. K. Okamoto, C. Packham, A. Tokunaga, M. Honda, I. Sakon, J. Carr, M. Chiba, M. Chun, H. Fujiwara, T. Fujiyoshi, M. Imanishi, Y. Ita, H. Kataza, N. Levenson, M. Matsuura, T. Minezaki, J. Najita, T. Onaka, Takafumi Ootsubo, M. RichterM. Takami, C. M. Telesco, C. M. Wright, T. Yamashita

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

6 Citations (Scopus)


A mid-infrared (MIR) imager and spectrometer is being investigated for possible consideration for construction in the early operation of the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT). Combined with adaptive optics for the MIR, the instrument will afford 15 times higher sensitivity (0.1mJy as 5 sigma detection in 1hour integration in the N-band imaging) and 4 times better spatial resolution (0.08'') at 10μm compared to 8m-class telescopes. In addition, its large light-gathering power allows high-dispersion spectroscopy in the MIR that will be unrivaled by any other facility. We, a collaborating team of Japanese and US MIR astronomers, have carefully considered the science drivers for the TMT MIR instrument. Such an instrument would offer both broad and potentially transformative science. Furthering the science cases for the MIRES1, where high-dispersion spectroscopy was emphasized, we discuss additional capabilities for the instrument drawn from the enlarged science cases. The science cases include broader areas of astronomical fields: star and planet formation, solar system bodies, evolved stars, interstellar medium (ISM), extragalaxies, and cosmology. Based on these science drivers, essential instrument capabilities and key enhancement are discussed (see the companion paper Tokunaga et al. 20102): specifically imaging, lowand high-spectral resolution modes, integral field spectroscopy, and polarimetry.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationGround-Based and Airborne Instrumentation for Astronomy III
EditionPART 1
Publication statusPublished - 2010
EventGround-Based and Airborne Instrumentation for Astronomy III - San Diego, CA, United States
Duration: 2010 Jun 272010 Jul 2

Publication series

NameProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
NumberPART 1
ISSN (Print)0277-786X


OtherGround-Based and Airborne Instrumentation for Astronomy III
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Diego, CA


  • Camera
  • Image Slicer
  • Infrared
  • Polarimetry
  • Spectrograph
  • Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT)

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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