One technique for mapping the polarization signature of the cosmic microwave background uses large, polarizing grids
in reflection. We present the system requirements, the fabrication, assembly, and alignment procedures, and the test
results for the polarizing grid component of a 50 cm clear aperture, Variable-delay Polarization Modulator (VPM). This
grid is being built and tested at the Goddard Space Flight Center as part of the Polarimeter for Observing Inflationary
Cosmology at the Reionization Epoch (POINCARE).
For the demonstration instrument, 64 μm diameter tungsten wires are being assembled into a 200 μm pitch, free-standing
wire grid with a 50 cm clear aperture, and an expected overall flatness better than 30 μm. A rectangular,
aluminum stretching frame holds the wires with sufficient tension to achieve a minimum resonant frequency of 185 Hz,
allowing VPM mirror translation frequencies of several Hz. A lightly loaded, flattening ring with a 50 cm inside
diameter rests against the wires and brings them into accurate planarity.