The Department has an active program of optical and infrared instrumentation. Larry Ramsey acted as the Project Scientist for the Hobby-Eberly Telescope and the Principal Investigator for one of its three optical spectrographs.
Suvrath Mahadevan, Fred Hearty and Larry Ramsey are working on the integration and development of two spectrometers. The NIR spectrometer called the Habitable-zone Planet Finder (HPF), is located at the HET telescope (delivered Oct '17). HPF will search for exoplanets around low-mass M-dwarf stars. The optical spectrometer - NEID, which will be based at the WIYN telescope will look for Earth like exoplanets around Sun (F,G, and K) like stars. The project scientist for NEID is Jason Wright; other members of the team include, Andy Monson, Joe Ninan, Scott Blakeslee, Colin Nitroy, Gudmundur Stefansson, Caleb Canas, Shubham Kanodia, and Emily Lubar. Previous PSU members of the team, who now contribute from elsewhere are Chad Bender, Paul Robertson, Eric Levi, Ryan Terrien, Sam Halverson, and Arpita Roy.
Graduate student Gudmundur Stefansson is also working on a new technique for precision photometry - Diffusers. He is using these to obtain precise ground based transit observations, and hence characterize exoplanets. He is being assisted in this endeavour by Yiting Li.