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Exoplanet Imaging with Optical Lumped Element Microwave Kinetic Inductance Detectors
Microwave Kinetic Inductance Detectors are a promising new detector technology with the potential to replace conventional semiconductor-based detectors in the ultraviolet, optical and near-infrared wavelengths. As the technology matures, its applications will broaden, to the benefit of nearly every branch of astronomy. The exoplanet field in particular holds some of the most pressing questions about our cosmic origins. Direct imaging of exoplanets has matured quickly in recent years, with several ground- and space-based coronagraph missions on the horizon. However, there is still much room for innovative technology to revolutionize the field. In this talk, I will first discuss the current generation of optical MKID instruments, which have demonstrated the photon-counting and energy-resolving capabilities of MKIDs on the sky. I will then turn my attention toward a future camera concept known as Darkness, the Dark-speckle Near-IR Energy-resolved Superconducting Spectrophotometer, which will integrate with existing coronagraphs and be the first instrument capable of high-contrast visible light coronagraphy.