Developing new technologies for the study of stars and planets, their origins and fates
Advances in detectors, optics, and photonics have fueled progress in the field of Optical Interferometry, allowing stars and their surroundings to be probed with unprecedented spatial resolution. Research in my group is focused on visible and infrared imaging with milliarcsecond resolution, developing the precision-calibration techniques necessary to directly detect extra-solar planets, and building the novel instrumentation to make these experiments possible. In addition, we are pursuing other high-resolution projects using large ground-based telescopes, such as adaptive optics, aperture masking, and speckle interferometry.
John D. Monnier
John Monnier obtained his Physics BS degree from Purdue University in 1993, followed by his Physics PhD. from the University of California at Berkeley under the supervision of Charles H. Townes and William Danchi. Following a Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics Fellowship, Dr. Monnier began an assistant professor position at the University of Michigan in 2002. Professor Monnier's group has been responsible for development of the Michigan InfraRed Combiner (MIRC) on the CHARA Array, the first instrument capable of infrared imaging of complex objects using long-baseline interferometry. Professor Monnier is interested in all stages of stellar and planetary evolution, with a focus on imaging surfaces of stars and planet-forming disks along with development of new methods for extrasolar planet detection and characterization. Professor Monnier is currently heavily involved in the Planet Formation Imager Project, leading the concept study efforts as the Project Director.