Big Bang cosmologies predict that the cosmic microwave background (CMB) contains faint temperature and polarisation
anisotropies imprinted in the early universe. ESA's PLANCK satellite has already measured the temperature
anisotropies1 in exquisite detail; the next ambitious step is to map the primordial polarisation signatures which are
several orders of magnitude lower. Polarisation E-modes have been measured2 but the even-fainter primordial B-modes
have so far eluded detection. Their magnitude is unknown but it is clear that a sensitive telescope with exceptional
control over systematic errors will be required.
QUBIC3 is a ground-based European experiment that aims to exploit the novel concept of bolometric interferometry in
order to measure B-mode polarisation anisotropies in the CMB. Beams from an aperture array of corrugated horns will
be combined to form a synthesised image of the sky Stokes parameters on two focal planes: one at 150 GHz the other at
220 GHz. In this paper we describe recent optical modelling of the QUBIC beam combiner, concentrating on modelling
the instrument point-spread-function and its operation in the 220-GHz band. We show the effects of optical aberrations
and truncation as successive components are added to the beam path. In the case of QUBIC, the aberrations introduced
by off-axis mirrors are the dominant contributor. As the frequency of operation is increased, the aperture horns allow up to five hybrid modes to propagate and we illustrate how the beam pattern changes across the 25% bandwidth. Finally we
describe modifications to the QUBIC optical design to be used in a technical demonstrator, currently being manufactured
for testing in 2016.
Kinetic inductance detectors (KIDs) are a promising technology for low-noise, highly-multiplexible mm- and submm-wave detection. KIDs have a number of advantages over other detector technologies, which make them an appealing option in the cosmic microwave background B-mode anisotropy search, including passive frequency domain multiplexing and relatively simple fabrication, but have suffered from challenges associated with noise control. Here we describe design and fabrication of a 20-pixel prototype array of lumped element molybdenum KIDs. We show Q, frequency and temperature measurements from the array under dark conditions. We also present evidence for a double superconducting gap in molybdenum.