Remnant radiation from the early universe, known as the Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB), has been redshifted and cooled, and today has a blackbody spectrum peaking at millimetre wavelengths. The QUBIC (Q&U Bolometric Interferometer for Cosmology) instrument is designed to map the very faint polaristion structure in the CMB. QUBIC is based on the novel concept of bolometric interferometry in conjunction with synthetic imaging. It will have a large array of input feedhorns, which creates a large number of interferometric baselines.
The beam from each feedhorn is passed through an optical combiner, with an off-axis compensated Gregorian design, to allow the generation of the synthetic image. The optical-combiner will operate in two frequency bands (150 and 220 GHz with 25% and 18.2 % bandwidth respectively) while cryogenically cooled TES bolometers provide the sensitivity required at the image plane.
The QUBIC Technical Demonstrator (TD), a proof of technology instrument that contains 64 input feed-horns, is currently being built and will be installed in the Alto Chorrillos region of Argentina. The plan is then for the full QUBIC instrument (400 feed-horns) to be deployed in Argentina and obtain cosmologically significant results.
In this paper we will examine the output of the manufactered feed-horns in comparison to the nominal design. We will show the results of optical modelling that has been performed in anticipation of alignment and calibration of the TD in Paris, in particular testing the validity of real laboratory environments. We show the output of large calibrator sources (50 ° full width haf max Gaussian beams) and the importance of accurate mirror definitions when modelling large beams. Finally we describe the tolerance on errors of the position and orientation of mirrors in the optical combiner.
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.
The LSPE is a balloon-borne mission aimed at measuring the polarization of the Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB)
at large angular scales, and in particular to constrain the curl component of CMB polarization (B-modes) produced by
tensor perturbations generated during cosmic inflation, in the very early universe. Its primary target is to improve the
limit on the ratio of tensor to scalar perturbations amplitudes down to r = 0.03, at 99.7% confidence. A second target is
to produce wide maps of foreground polarization generated in our Galaxy by synchrotron emission and interstellar dust
emission. These will be important to map Galactic magnetic fields and to study the properties of ionized gas and of
diffuse interstellar dust in our Galaxy. The mission is optimized for large angular scales, with coarse angular resolution
(around 1.5 degrees FWHM), and wide sky coverage (25% of the sky). The payload will fly in a circumpolar long
duration balloon mission during the polar night. Using the Earth as a giant solar shield, the instrument will spin in
azimuth, observing a large fraction of the northern sky. The payload will host two instruments. An array of coherent
polarimeters using cryogenic HEMT amplifiers will survey the sky at 43 and 90 GHz. An array of bolometric
polarimeters, using large throughput multi-mode bolometers and rotating Half Wave Plates (HWP), will survey the same
sky region in three bands at 95, 145 and 245 GHz. The wide frequency coverage will allow optimal control of the
polarized foregrounds, with comparable angular resolution at all frequencies.
We discuss the design and expected performance of STRIP (STRatospheric Italian Polarimeter), an array of coherent receivers designed to fly on board the LSPE (Large Scale Polarization Explorer) balloon experiment. The STRIP focal plane array comprises 49 elements in Q band and 7 elements in W-band using cryogenic HEMT low noise amplifiers and high performance waveguide components. In operation, the array will be cooled to 20 K and placed in the focal plane of a ~0.6 meter telescope providing an angular resolution of ~1.5 degrees. The LSPE experiment aims at large scale, high sensitivity measurements of CMB polarization, with multi-frequency deep measurements to optimize component separation. The STRIP Q-band channel is crucial to accurately measure and remove the synchrotron polarized component, while the W-band channel, together with a bolometric channel at the same frequency, provides a crucial cross-check for systematic effects.
The ESA Planck mission is the third generation (after COBE and WMAP) space experiment dedicated to the measurement
of the Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB) anisotropies. Planck will map the whole CMB sky using two instruments in
the focal plane of a 1.5 m off-axis aplanatic telescope. The High Frequency Instrument (HFI) is an array of 52 bolometers
in the frequency range 100-857 GHz, while the Low Frequency Instrument (LFI) is an array of 11 pseudo-correlation
radiometric receivers which continuously compare the sky signal with the reference signal of a blackbody at ~ 4.5 K.
The LFI has been tested and calibrated at different levels of integration, i.e. on the single units (feed-horns, OMTs, amplifiers,
waveguides, etc.), on each integrated Radiometric Chain Assembly (RCA) and finally on the complete instrument,
the Radiometric Array Assembly (RAA). In this paper we focus on some of the data analysis algorithms and methods that
have been implemented to estimate the instrument performance and calibration parameters.
The paper concludes with the discussion of a custom-designed software package (LIFE) that allows to access the
complex data structure produced by the instrument and to estimate the instrument performance and calibration parameters
via a fully graphical interface.
In this paper we present the test results of the qualification model (QM) of the LFI instrument, which is being
developed as part of the ESA Planck satellite. In particular we discuss the calibration plan which has defined
the main requirements of the radiometric tests and of the experimental setups. Then we describe how these
requirements have been implemented in the custom-developed cryo-facilities and present the main results. We
conclude with a discussion of the lessons learned for the testing of the LFI Flight Model (FM).
The ESA Planck mission is the third generation (after COBE and WMAP) space experiment dedicated to the measurement of the Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB) anisotropies. Two instruments will be integrated onboard: the High Frequency Instrument (HFI), an array of bolometers, and the Low Frequency Instrument (LFI), an array of pseudo-correlation HEMT radiometers.
In this paper we will discuss the development of analytical and numerical models to estimate the thermal behavior of LFI, both in steady-state and transient conditions. We then describe their application to the qualification model (QM) tests. QM test data were also used to calibrate the numerical models. Finally, we show some examples about how these models can be used in predicting the instrument performances and the impact of thermal systematic effects on the scientific results.
PLANCK is the space mission of the European Space Agency devoted to measure of the anisotropies of the cosmic microwave background (CMB), the relic radiation left by the big bang.
The satellite will be launched in 2007 and it will carry state-of-the-art of microwave radiometers and bolometers arranged in two instruments, respectively the Low Frequency Instrument and the High Frequency Instrument, both coupled with a 1.5 m telescope and working in nine frequency channels between 30 and 857 GHz.
From the second Lagrangian point of the Sun-Earth system, the instruments will produce a survey that will cover the whole sky with unprecedented combination of sensitivity, angular resolution, and frequency coverage, and they will likely lead us to extract all the cosmological information encoded in the CMB temperature anisotropies.
The development strategy of PLANCK and the two instruments has been to set up a mission that inherently minimizes the systematic effects.
The optics, composed by an optimised telescope-feed array assembly, introduce unwanted systematic effects in the measurements like the so called external straylight due to the sidelobe pick-up.
A trade-off between angular resolution and external straylight has been carried out for LFI in order to reach the best optical performances preventing the Galactic contamination. The main product of the study has been the definition of the internal geometry of the flight model of the LFI feed horns and the characterization of the overall optical response of the instrument.
Thermal emission from all components of the spacecraft produces the so called internal straylight, that has been evaluated and controlled in the design phase.
In this paper we present the study carried out on the minimization of straylight contamination in PLANCK LFI.
The Low Frequency Instrument aboard the PLANCK satellite will employ pseudo-correlation radiometers, operating over three broad bands centred at 30, 44 ,and 70 GHz. The radiometer scheme is based on the simultaneous comparison of two input signals, one coming from the sky and the other coming from a reference blackbody at a stable cryogenic temperature (near 4K) as close as possible to the sky temperature (about 2.7K). This choice is made in order to minimize non-white instrumental noise, typically exhibiting a 1/f spectrum. Effects due to the residual offset are minimised with a gain modulation factor applied in software. Fluctuations of the reference signal, due to fluctuation in the cooling chain or to straylight radiation, can also produce a parasitic signal which would mimic a true sky fluctuation. The PLANCK scientific goal of a high precision imaging of the CMB anisotropy requires an accurate characterisation of each part constituting the chain by using tools of modellisation and experimental tests.
In this work we describe the concept of the radiometric chain, its functioning and the main sources of systematic errors, showing how, only with a hard modelling effort, it is possible to characterise, reduce and then remove in the data processing those systematic effects that may in principle compromise the quality of the whole instrument response.