Planet Formation Imager (PFI): Introduction and technical considerations

John D. Monnier*, Stefan Kraus, David Buscher, J. P. Berger, Christopher Haniff, Michael Ireland, Lucas Labadie, Sylvestre Lacour, Hervé Le Coroller, Romain G. Petrov, Jörg Uwe Pott, Stephen Ridgway, Jean Surdej, Theo ten Brummelaar, Peter Tuthill, Gerard van Belle

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference proceeding contributionpeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


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.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationOptical and Infrared Interferometry IV
EditorsJayadev K. Rajagopal , Michelle J. Creech-Eakman, Fabien Malbet
Place of PublicationBellingham, Washington
Number of pages10
ISBN (Electronic)9780819496140
Publication statusPublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes
EventOptical and Infrared Interferometry IV - Montreal, Canada
Duration: 23 Jun 201427 Jun 2014

Publication series

NameProceedings of SPIE
ISSN (Print)0277-786X


OtherOptical and Infrared Interferometry IV


  • high angular resolution
  • infrared
  • interferometry
  • Planet Formation


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