Presently, dedicated instruments developments at large telescopes (SPHERE for the VLT, GPI for Gemini) are about to discover and explore self-luminous giant planets by direct imaging and spectroscopy. The next generation of 30m-40m ground-based telescopes, the Extremely Large Telescopes (ELTs) have the potential to dramatically enlarge the discovery space towards older giant planets seen in reflected light and ultimately even a small number of rocky planets. EPICS is a proposed instrument for the European ELT, dedicated to the detection and characterization of exoplanets by direct imaging and spectroscopy. It will exploit state-of-the-art diffraction and speckle suppression techniques to deliver highest contrasts.

EPICS was first studied in the context of the OWL project, and a first preliminary concept produced. A new design is being considered for the E-ELT, partly funded within an European FP-7 program, and partly by ESO. Phase A will formally start in autumn 2007. INAF-OAPD has the leadership of the science group and contributes to the work on the Integral Field Spectrograph.

People: R. Gratton, J. Antichi, S. Desidera, R. Claudi, M. Turatto, D. Mesa, M. Bonavita

Collaboration: M Kasper (ESO), J-L. Beuzit (LAOG-Grenoble), H.M. Schmid (ETH-Zurich), N. Thatte (Oxford)

Recent Publication: Kasper et al. (2007), lyot conf 35; Kasper et al. (2008), SPIE 7015,46; Antichi et al. (2008), SPIE 7100,47; Vérinaud et al. (2008), SPIE 7014,52