John D. Monnier, Michael Ireland, Stefan Kraus, Almudena Alonso-Herrero, Amy Bonsor, Fabien Baron, Amelia Bayo, Jean-Philippe Berger, Tabetha Boyajian, Andrea Chiavassa, David Ciardi, Michelle Creech-Eakman, Willem-Jan de Wit, Denis Defrère, Ruobing Dong, Gaspard Duchêne, Catherine Espaillat, Alexandre Gallenne, Poshak Gandhi, Jean-Francois Gonzalez, Chris Haniff, Sebastian Hoenig, John Ilee, Andrea Isella, Eric Jensen, Attila Juhasz, Stephen Kane, Makoto Kishimoto, Wilhelm Kley, Quentin Kral, Kaitlin Kratter, Lucas Labadie, Sylvestre Lacour, Greg Laughlin, Jean-Baptiste Le Bouquin, Ernest Michael, Farzana Meru, Rafael Millan-Gabet, Florentin Millour, Stefano Minardi, Alessandro Morbidelli, Chris Mordasini, Andreas Morlok, Dave Mozurkewich, Richard Nelson, Johan Olofsson, Rene Oudmaijer, Chris Packham, Claudia Paladini, Olja Panic, Romain Petrov, Benjamin Pope, Joerg-Uwe Pott, Luis Henry Quiroga-Nunez, Cristina Ramos Almeida, Sean N. Raymond, Zsolt Regaly, Mark Reynolds, Stephen Ridgway, Stephen Rinehart, Matthias Schreiber, Michael Smith, Keivan Stassun, Jean Surdej, Theo ten Brummelaar, Konrad Tristram, Neal Turner, Peter Tuthill, Gerard van Belle, Gautum Vasisht, Alexander Wallace, Gerd Weigelt, Edward Wishnow, Markus Wittkowski, Sebastian Wolf, John Young, Ming Zhao, Zhaohuan Zhu, Sebastian Zúñiga-Fernández. 2018. Planet Formation Imager: Project Update. Conference on Optical and Infrared Interferometry and Imaging VI, 10701, DOI: 10.1117/12.2312683
The Planet Formation Imager (PFI) is a near- and mid-infrared interferometer project with the driving science goal of imaging directly the key stages of planet formation, including the young proto-planets themselves. Here, we will present an update on the work of the Science Working Group (SWG), including new simulations of dust structures during the assembly phase of planet formation and quantitative detection efficiencies for accreting and non-accreting young exoplanets as a function of mass and age. We use these results to motivate two reference PFI designs consisting of a) twelve 3m telescopes with a maximum baseline of 1.2 km focused on young exoplanet imaging and b) twelve 8 m telescopes optimized for a wider range of young exoplanets and protoplanetary disk imaging out to the 150 K H2O ice line. Armed with 4 x 8 m telescopes, the ESO/VLTI can already detect young exoplanets in principle and projects such as MATISSE, Hi-5 and Heimdallr are important PFI pathfinders to make this possible. We also discuss the state of technology development needed to make PFI more affordable, including progress towards new designs for inexpensive, small field-of-view, large aperture telescopes and prospects for Cubesat-based space interferometry.