Ian McLean

Ian McLean
Experimental Astrophysics

Office: 3-939 PAB
Phone: (310) 825-1140
E-Mail: [javascript protected email address]

Educational Background: 
  • B.Sc. (Hons), Physics & Astronomy, University of Glasgow, Scotland, 1971
  • Ph.D., Astronomy, University of Glasgow, 1974
Positions Held: 

UCLA Infrared Laboratory
6-164 Knudsen Hall
(310) 206-7535

Research Interest: 

Professor McLean's research interests are in the areas of infrared astronomy and astronomical instrumentation. Following a decade of work at the Royal Observatory in Edinburgh and the Joint Astronomy Centre in Hawaii, Professor McLean came to UCLA in 1989, and with his colleague Professor Eric Becklin, established a new research group in the area of infrared astronomy and instrumentation. The main focus of the program was the creation of a research laboratory for the design and development of instrumentation based on state-of-the-art infrared "array" detector technology, and the construction of novel, facility-class, scientific instruments for the W. M. Keck 10-meter Telescope - the world's largest - which is operated on the 14,000 ft summit of Mauna Kea in Hawaii by the California Association for Research in Astronomy (CARA) on behalf of the University of California and Caltech, with participation by the University of Hawaii and NASA. Professor McLean has served as Director of the UCLA Infrared Lab since its inception. He is also an Associate Director of the system-wide multi-campus research unit known as the University of California Observatories (UCO). He served 10 years on the Keck Science Steering Committee including over three years as Chair. Professor James Larkin joined the IR Lab when it was expanded in 1997, and Professor Michael Fitzgerald came in 2010. UCLA’s IR Lab, which celebrated its 20th anniversary on November 20, 2009, is well known internationally and the group has successfully built all or parts of many successful instruments. At the Keck Observatory, these instruments include all four of the currently operational infrared science instruments; NIRSPEC (McLean 1999) - the first cryogenic infrared echelle spectrometer on a 10-m telescope; NIRC2 (McLean and Larkin 2001)- a diffraction-limited AO infrared camera built jointly with Caltech; OSIRIS (Larkin 2005) – a unique integral field spectrometer for the Keck AO system; MOSFIRE (McLean 2012) – the first multi-object infrared spectrograph to use a cryogenic slit mask unit that is reconfigurable by computer control. A complete list of past and current projects is available on the IR Lab web site. Professor McLean is currently commissioning FLITECAM, a near-infrared camera for NASA’s Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA). McLean has held the position of Vice Chair for Astronomy since 2009.

Selected Publications: 
  • McLean, Ian S., Electronic Imaging in Astronomy: detectors and instrumentation, 2nd edition, July 2008: Praxis Publishing/ Springer, Berlin-Heidelberg-New York. [Book: 552 pages]
  • Kirkpatrick, J. Davy; Cushing, Michael C.; Gelino, Christopher R.; Griffith, Roger L.; Skrutskie, Michael F.; Marsh, Kenneth A.; Wright, Edward L.; Mainzer, A.; Eisenhardt, Peter R.; McLean, Ian S.; and 33 co-authors,  “The First Hundred Brown Dwarfs Discovered by the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE),” ApJS, 197, 19, 2011. 
  • Rice, Emily L.; Barman, T.; McLean, Ian S.; Prato, L.; Kirkpatrick, J. Davy, “Physical Properties of Young Brown Dwarfs and Very Low Mass Stars Inferred from High-resolution Model Spectra,” ApJS, 186, 63-84, 2010. 
  • Smith, E. C. D.; McLean, I. S., “A Survey of 3.3 μm PAH Emission in Planetary Nebulae,” ApJ, 676, 408-415, 2008.
  • McLean, I. S.; Prato, L.; McGovern, M. R.; Burgasser, A. J.; Kirkpatrick, J. D.; Rice, E. L.; Kim, S. S., “The NIRSPEC Brown Dwarf Spectroscopic Survey II: High-Resolution J-Band Spectra of M, L, and T Dwarfs,” ApJ, 658, 1217-1235, 2007.
  • McGovern, M. R.; Kirkpatrick, J. D.; McLean, I. S.; Burgasser, A. J.; Prato, L.; Lowrance, P. J., “Identifying Young Brown Dwarfs Using Gravity-Sensitive Spectral Features,” ApJ, 600, 1020-1024, 2004.
  • McLean, I. S.; McGovern, M.R.; Burgasser, A.J.; Kirkpatrick, J.D.; Prato, L.; Kim, S.S., “The NIRSPEC Brown Dwarf Spectroscopic Survey I: Low-Resolution Near-Infrared Spectra,” ApJ, 596, 561-586, 2003.
  • McLean, I. S.; Prato, L.; Kim, S. S.; Wilcox, M. K.; Kirkpatrick, J. D.; Burgasser, A. J., “Near-Infrared Spectroscopy of Brown Dwarfs: Methane and the Transition between the L and T Spectral Types,” ApJ, 561, L115-L118, 2001.
  • McLean, I.S.; Wilcox, M.K.; Becklin, E. E.; Figer, D.F.; Gilbert, A.M.; Graham, J.R.; Larkin, J. E.; Levenson, N. A.; Teplitz, H. I.; Kirkpatrick, J. D., “J-band infrared spectroscopy of a sample of brown dwarfs using NIRSPEC on Keck II”, Ap. J., 533, L45-L48, 2000.
  • ​McLean, I. S.; Aspin, C.; Reitsema, H., “High-resolution polarization images of Crab Nebula with a charge-coupled device camera,” Nature, Vol. 304, 243-246, 1983. [Front Cover]

Books and Popular Articles

  • "Infrared Astronomy's New Image," Sky and Telescope, Vol. 75, 254-259, 1988.
  • Electronic and Computer-aided Astronomy; from eyes to electronic sensors, Ellis Horwood Ltd., (in association with Prentiss Hall), Chichester, UK, 1989.
  • Infrared Astronomy with Arrays: the Next Generation, I. S. McLean, editor, Kluuwer Academic Publ., Netherlands, 1994.
  • "Infrared Arrays: The Next Generation," Sky & Telescope, June 1995.
  • Electronic Imaging in Astronomy: Detectors and Instrumentation, 2nd edition, Springer, New York and Heidelberg, 2008. (The 1st edition of this book was published in 1997.)