Professor, Vice-Chair of Academic Affairs
Office: 3-939 PAB
Phone: (310) 825-1140
UCLA Infrared Laboratory
6-164 Knudsen Hall
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.