We are poised to take advantage of a remarkable confluence of technological advances and scientific opportunity. For the first time, very fast, wide bandwidth, high-gain, low noise near-infrared avalanche photo diode (APDs) detectors are available and reasonably priced. We are designing and constructing a new SETI instrument to search for direct evidence of interstellar communications via pulsed laser signals at near-infrared (900 - 1700 nm) wavelengths. The new instrument design builds upon our past optical SETI work, and is the first step toward a new, more versatile, and more sophisticated generation of very fast optical and near-infrared pulse search devices.
Dr. Wright will discuss the advantages of SETI searches at near-infared wavelengths. She will also present the instrument layout, including an overview of the opto-mechanical design, detector selection and characterization, signal processing, and integration procedure. Finally, Dr. Wright will describe our initial observational setup and search strategies for SETI targets and other astronomical studies.